Pembrokeshire Beach to be Smoke-free
Little Haven in Pembrokeshire is to become Wales’s first smoke-free beach.
The voluntary ban – which also applies to e-cigarettes – comes into effect today (Wednesday, 9th March), National No Smoking Day, and is for a trial period of 12 months.
Launching the ban, Pembrokeshire County Councillor Huw George, said: “We take public health very seriously.
“We want to do as much as we can to protect our children from smoking and to promote a health and well-being environment for all.”
Thirty-five pupils from nearby Broad Haven primary school will take part in the launch on the beach at Little Haven at 2 pm today.
The number equates to the approximate number of children who take up smoking every day in Wales alone.
“Two-thirds of smokers start before the age of 18” said Councillor George, Cabinet Member for Environmental and Regulatory Services.
“The prevalence of smoking is around 21 per cent in Wales and to reduce this figure we need to prevent children and young adults taking up the habit.
“We know children are at particular risk from second-hand smoke and that they are more likely to start smoking themselves if they see adults doing it in a family-friendly environment.
“It is vital to de-normalise smoking to reduce the rates of young people taking it up and also to reduce their exposure to smoke and e cigarette vapour in areas where they gather.”
A survey by YouGov in 2015 for ASH Wales revealed that the majority of Welsh adults now believe that smoking should be banned in communal recreational spaces such as parks and beaches.
Councillor George stressed the ban is voluntary and no penalties would be enforced for ignoring it.
“Appropriate signage will be on display informing beach users of the ban” he explained. “Anyone breaching it may be approached and politely requested not to smoke. It is similar to the ban on smoking in play areas across Wales”
Dr Ruth Hussey Chief Medical Officer for Wales said: “The measures on tobacco and e-cigarettes in the Public Health (Wales) Bill look to prevent renormalisation of smoking behaviours.
“Making Pembrokeshire’s stunning beaches smoke-free reinforces the work being done by the bill and Pembrokeshire Council should be commended for their work towards a smoke-free Wales.”
Teresa Owen, Director of Public Health for Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We’re delighted to support Pembrokeshire County Council’s smoke free beach pilot.
“Too many people die from smoking-related diseases, such as heart disease, each year. Anything which discourages smoking is a positive step forward.
“Stopping smoking is the single most important thing you can do to benefit your health.
“If this project has encouraged you think about quitting then I would urge you to contact your local pharmacist, your practice nurse or check out the latest services on offer locally by visiting the University Health Board’s website. You are four times more likely to quit if you have help.”
The County Council will be working closely with the Havens Community Council to assess the ban’s progress while a report will be presented to the Authority’s Cabinet once the trial period concludes.
Visit Hywel’s House, the online healthy resource centre, to find help and support to stop smoking: www.hywelddahb.wales.nhs.uk/healthy-wednesday
Little Haven in Pembrokeshire.
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