Pupils at Tairgwaith Primary have urged smokers to help make the county borough’s school gates a healthier place at the launch of the Smoke-free School Gates campaign for Neath Port Talbot.

Smoke-free School Gates is a Public Health Wales-led campaign in partnership with local authorities, ASH Wales Cymru, Stop Smoking Wales, and ABMU Health Board.

As part of the campaign plaques will soon appear outside primary schools in Neath Port Talbot to encourage parents and carers to respect the voluntary ban when dropping off and collecting their children.

The campaign has both immediate and long term aims, namely to protect children from second-hand smoke at the beginning and end of their school day and also to reduce the likelihood of them taking up smoking in later life.

Research has found that children exposed to smoking are significantly more likely to start smoking themselves1. Children with two parents who smoke are three times more likely to take up the habit. Children with one parent who smoked were further found to be 70% more likely to start smoking. It is also known that two thirds of now-adult smokers took up smoking before the age of 182.

Cllr Peter Rees, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture said: “Giving our children and young people the best possible start in life is a key priority for this Council and it is important that we do all we can to encourage healthy habits from the earliest possible age.”

“I am therefore very pleased to launch the Smoke-free School Gates campaign in Neath Port Talbot which will encourage all parents and carers to set a positive example for primary school pupils in the county borough”.

Liz Newbury-Davies at Public Health Wales, said: “We’re very excited about the launch of smoke-free school gates initiative in Neath Port Talbot. The normalisation of healthy behaviours is key in helping to ensure the best possible outcomes for our children and young people.

“Smoke-free school gates will not only be beneficial to the health of the school population but will also positively impact on the environment. We are delighted to have worked in collaboration with Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council on this exciting public health campaign.”

Following the event, pupils took the chance to underline their healthy credentials with games and activities from the Ospreys in the Community.

For more information on the Smoke-free School Gates Campaign visit: http://ashwales.org.uk/en/information-resources/topics/smokefree-school-gates

For smokers who want to quit, Getting NHS help plus free licensed stop smoking medicines means you are much more likely to stop smoking for good compared to trying to quit on your own.
Help Me Quit support is available free from the NHS in Wales – with free licensed stop smoking medicines and weekly support sessions that have been proven to help people quit.
To find out which service is best for you, in your local area, contact a member of the Help Me Quit team by:
Calling: 0800 085 2219
Texting: HMQ to 80818
Requesting a call back from Help Me Quit: www.helpmequit.wales/quit-now/

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