Smokers warned away from Norwich play areas

Waterloo Park.

Waterloo Park. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

They are areas where children should be playing and getting active - not breathing in lethal fumes.

That is the message from children in dozens of Norwich play areas where 85 signs have been erected discouraging parents from smoking.

The initiative is not legally enforceable but aims to reduce children's exposure to smoking - cutting down on passive smoking and youngsters taking up the habit.

Norwich City councillor Vaughan Thomas said the plan was to 'de-normalise smoking and encourage people to step away from children if they want to smoke. 'It is also about children's perceptions and discouraging them from taking up smoking,' he said.

Tracy Williams, chair of the Norwich CCG, said the city has a higher percentage of smokers then nationally at 23pc.

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'In Norwich we find we have teenagers smoking at an even earlier age and the likelihood then is they will be smokers as adults,' she said. 'We are very clear about the impact of passive smoking around young people. We have patients who have never smoked but live in houses with people who do and end up with chronic lung conditions. 'Children are very good at telling their parents not to smoke, but they also like to copy people when they see people smoking in these areas.'

Broadland district councillor Roger Foulger said the message is for healthier living.: 'Smoking has been the number one health problem over the years,' he said. 'Education on the situation is very important, and the smoking ban in pubs has been a success. There was resistance but not it is generally unacceptable to smoke in confined areas. 'The more we do to tackle the problem reduces the strain on our NHS. The health of our children is vital and giving them a healthy upbringing is something everyone aspires to.'

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