A new smoke-free initiative ‘Young Lungs at Play’ was launched in Aughrim, Co Wicklow today (Friday, 12th April 2019) by the HSE, in partnership with Arklow Municipal District and County Wicklow Partnership.
Local Children from Aughrim were on hand to help officially launch the new initiative, the aim of which is to encourage the public to keep communal areas such as playgrounds and parks free from tobacco smoke.
New ‘Tobacco – Free’ signs have been placed in six playgrounds, outdoor gym areas, other local amenities (such as at the local Duck Pond) and in the ‘Moments in Time’ garden in the Arklow Municipal District area. The new signs also show contact details of services that are available, free-of-charge, to all adults seeking support to quit.
This initiative aims to support families and communities to create a healthy environment for their children to play. The vision is to develop shared communal smoke-free spaces that protect children from the harmful effects of second hand smoke.
Wicklow TD, Minister Simon Harris showing his support for the campaign said “As a local TD and Minister for Health, I am really pleased to be supporting this fantastic initiative here in Co Wicklow. We are making real progress in terms of reducing the numbers of people who are smoking and this initiative is another excellent addition. I am really pleased that this initiative not only discourages people from smoking in the area but highlights the supports that are available for those who do want to quit. Smoking is an addiction and it is vital that we work with people and communities to reduce dependency.”
Martina Blake, National Lead, Tobacco Free Ireland Programme, HSE Health & Wellbeing said “Tobacco Free Ireland has a clear goal to denormalise smoking for the next generation of children which supports the overall vision of Healthy Ireland. We know children model adult behaviour. The ‘Young Lungs at play’ initiative will help ensure the children of Aughrim see and experience a positive healthy environment as the norm. Quitting can be difficult for some, but there are a wide range of effective supports available to help you to QUIT. Using our supports will help double your chances of success. You can contact the local support clinic in Arklow and Wicklow primary care centres on 01 2744297, on quit.ie or our free national QUIT helpline 1800 201 203.”
Cathaoirleach, Arklow Municipal District, Cllr Miriam Murphy, said “Cigarette butts currently account for more than half of all litter and the clean-up is a major cost to the Local Authority. In addition to protecting health, the smoke free areas will be more pleasant for everyone, as they will be cleaner, safer and free of cigarette butts.”
Ms Siobhan Fitzpatrick, Head Of Service, Health & Wellbeing, Community Healthcare East stated “This is a great example of multiagency working to all members of society that exposure to tobacco is being taken seriously and efforts are being made to tackle it. My vision for this initiative is for all parks to be free from tobacco use across our Community Healthcare Organisation; that our population can enjoy their leisure time in a tobacco free environment.”
Brian Carty, CEO, County Wicklow Partnership said “This is an important first step in sending a positive message that common public and community spaces should be a healthy environment for all to enjoy. County Wicklow Partnership is delighted to have developed this initiative with Arklow Municipal District of Wicklow County Council and the HSE.”