Sheffield’s commitment to becoming smokefree made waves today, as the city centre’s annual summer seaside became the first public family event to go smoke and vape free.
Following proposals from Sheffield City Council to Sheffield by the Seaside, the event has officially adopted a voluntary Smokefree policy.
Posters and signage have been installed around the Peace Gardens, where the event is taking place until 28 August, asking those visiting the area not to smoke or vape.
Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “Sheffield by the Seaside attracts hundreds of families and children throughout the summer holidays so this is a huge step towards our ambition to make family focused events smokefree.
“Smoking in family-friendly places creates the impression that it is harmless but the reality is that tobacco kills more than 900 people a year in Sheffield and around five children start smoking in Sheffield every day. To achieve our goal of a smokefree generation by 2025 it is vital that we protect children and young people from exposure to smoking.
“We have the opportunity to make a real difference and will continue to develop ways to incorporate voluntary smokefree policies in to other family focused open spaces and events.
Following public consultation a voluntary smokefree policy was introduced across all public playgrounds in Sheffield in 2016, to change social norms around smoking, reduce visibility of smoking and protect children from the harmful effects of second hand smoke.
In February this year Smokefree Sheffield was officially launched with the aim of achieving a smokefree generation in Sheffield by 2025.
Current smokefree legislation only covers enclosed spaces but not outdoor public spaces. The council has been looking at ways to extend the voluntary smokefree policy to other public outdoor spaces and areas used by children and families.
Sheffield by the Seaside is the first event to adopt the voluntary smokefree policy but the council is working with partners to include further smokefree areas at the many other public events held in the city, such as smokefree family stages at festivals.
Greg Fell, Director of Public Health at Sheffield City Council, said: “Evidence shows us that children are less likely to start smoking if they do not view it as a normal part of everyday life. Making smoking less visible and less socially acceptable reduces the number of children who take up smoking and this is our primary aim here.
“Local surveys have shown that there is strong public support for increasing the number of outdoor smokefree environments in Sheffield and we we’re working with other partners on the best ways to introduce more of these across the city.”