Children’s plea: “Don’t puff where we play”

Smoke-free play park
Smoke-free play park

The first smoke-free playground in Kirkintilloch was launched last week with the help of children from Harestanes Primary School.

The concept was developed by East Dunbartonshire Tobacco Alliance and the Langmuir Park scheme follows the success of the first smoke-free playpark launched in Baljaffray last summer.

The idea is to ask people not to smoke in the areas where children are playing.

While there is no legislation to prevent people from smoking, it is hoped that smokers heed the message for the welfare of children.

Children from Harestanes Primary School also got on board with the project, learning about the effects of smoking following recent visits from Trading Standards and Community Safety teams, as well as NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health experts.

The pupils were then tasked with designing new signs for the park, depicting their ideal play area.

The winning design was created by Jack Haughey and Aimee Callaghan, who were presented with a gift voucher at the launch event.

Runners up Dawn McMillan, Ben McLay, Lucy Thomson and Aiden Nunn also received a gift voucher for their fantastic design entries.

Council leader Rhondda Geekie said: “This is our second playpark to become a smoke-free zone and I hope this is as successful as the last. It’s incredible to think that it is 10 years since the smoking ban came into effect in Scotland, so the timing of this launch couldn’t be better.

“There has been a complete change of mind-set since the smoking ban was introduced and parents and carers are much more aware of the dangers of exposing children to smoking.

“Our neighbourhood services department consulted the local community when redeveloping this park, asking them if they wanted it to be smoke-free. The answer was an overwhelming yes and I am delighted, with partners from NHSGGC, to launch this initiative.

“The pupils from Harestanes Primary were so enthusiastic about the project and came up with some amazing designs. The standard of entries was very high and made our job of judging them very difficult indeed.

Sandra Cairney, head of strategy at East Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership, added: “By reducing children’s exposure to tobacco, we hope that in time smoking will no longer be seen as a ‘normal’ activity in today’s society. Please support us by not smoking within the play park area.”