A sign at the playpark off Military Road urges adults not to smoke near children

Smoke free children’s play areas set to be rolled out district wide

Smoke free children’s play areas are set to become the rule rather than the exception across the Canterbury district.

After a successful trial at five areas in Canterbury, the city council wants to introduce the scheme to the rest of its playparks.

The authority says that a consultation shows there is widespread support for the idea.

It will be discussed at next week’s meeting of the council’s community committee.

Chairman Cllr Neil Baker said: “There are difficulties enforcing this, but the scheme operates on what we call the nudge basis.

Cllr Neil Baker: Think about smoking near kids

“We want parents to think about what they’re doing. The problem is that while they might not smoke when they’re in the park, they can of course go home and smoke in an enclosed space with children around them.”

Smoke free play areas were introduced in five council play areas in 2016. They are St Stephen’s Church Field, Kingsbrook Park, Military Road, Tennyson Avenue and Sturry Road Community Park.

Signs urging parents not to smoke were put up near entrances, warning that children “copy what you do”. They were paid for by Graham Gibbens, a Kent county councillor for Canterbury, using his KCC member grant.

The community committee report by officer Rebecca Booth states: “The consultation has shown there is public support for this initiative and a desire for the council to roll it out to other play areas in the district.

“The aim is to encourage behaviour change amongst those who smoke in children’s play areas, to improve the health of
children by reducing their exposure to cigarette smoke in places where they play.”

The community committee meets in the Guildhall at 7pm on Wednesday, March 21.

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