15 July 2022| | 4 min read
Newcastle school’s gates go smoke free in boost to children’s health
A Newcastle primary school has become the first in the city to implement a Smoke Free School Gates policy to reduce pupils’ exposure to smoking and model healthy behaviours to them.
Broadwood Primary School in the West End of Newcastle today (Friday 15 July) implemented the voluntary code which will see parents and carers encouraged to refrain from smoking at the entrance to school grounds.
The policy, supported by members of the Smoke Free Newcastle partnership, aims to reduce children’s exposure to smoking, discourage young people from taking up smoking, reduce smoking-related litter, support people to quit, and empower schools to set an example for healthy living in our communities.
Staff and pupils were presented with a Smoke Free School Gates sign at the school this morning, and Broadwood Primary School pupils will be involved in raising awareness of the policy in the community.
Cllr Karen Kilgour, Newcastle City Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for a Healthy, Caring City, said: “School buildings and grounds are already smoke free zones, allowing children to learn and thrive in a healthy environment, but Smoke Free School Gates aims to expand this into the journey to and from school.
“Young people can be influenced by the actions of adults, and we want to create an environment where children no longer see parents and carers smoking at the school gates and become influenced into taking up smoking themselves. We want all our residents to live long and healthy lives in our communities and I’m delighted we’re taking this important step.
“I’m delighted to be joining the Broadwood Primary School community as they become the city’s first school to adopt the Smoke Free School Gates policy, which I hope sets an example to other schools in Newcastle and the wider region.”
Wendy Mitcheson, Head Teacher of Broadwood Primary School, said: “We want to promote healthy living for our children and families. We are aware of the challenges of money our families face and know smoking can feel like it is relieving stress and anxieties - we hope to break this cycle and encourage children to choose other ways to relieve stress.
“We are equipping our children with the knowledge and skills set to choose a healthier lifestyle and be independent of their choices rather than be pressured by peers. We hope our sign sends the right message.”
Smoking is estimated to kill 365 people in Newcastle every year. Although rates have fallen, in 2019, 13% of adults continued to smoke in Newcastle. That equates to 31,804 people.
Children and young people who grow up with parents or carers who smoke are much more likely to start smoking themselves. Smoking in the home not only damages the health of children but significantly increases their chance of becoming smokers.
Smoke Free Newcastle, of which Newcastle City Council is a part, is a partnership of organisations who are working together to try to reduce smoking and its impact on the people who live, work, or visit the city.
Its vision is that all children born today will live a smoke free life. As part of this work the partnership is trying to increase the number of public smoke free outdoor spaces in the city, to provide a healthier environment for all to enjoy, particularly children and young people.
For more information and tips on making a home smoke free go to www.smokefreefamilies.co.uk
For help to quit smoking contact Newcastle Stop Smoking+ Service, on 0191 269 1103 or visit www.newcastlestopsmoking.org.uk Many community pharmacists can also help.