Kaye Mann, Public Health Senior Practitioner, was welcomed to the meeting to talk about the Smoke Free programme in Barnsley, which includes Smoke Free Schools.
This built upon the work to create Smoke Free Play Parks and Smoke Free Areas in the Town Centre, including in Barnsley Pal’s Memorial Square. In these areas people were encouraged not to smoke, and although it was not enforced it had been successful so far. The initiatives so far had created much media interest with other authorities eager to learn from Barnsley.
Smoking prevalence continues to be high in Barnsley, though it has fallen more recently. However, significant inequalities could be seen across the borough.
The Smoke Free Schools Programme provided a whole school approach as part of creating a smoke free generation by 2025. By making smoking invisible, children would no longer see smoking as the norm., and were less likely to start.
In making areas smoke free, there are also impacts such as reduced litter, and it is supportive of those trying to quit.
The aim is for all schools to become smoke free and free resources have been circulated to each school to make the process as easy as possible. This includes a toolkit with templates for letters to be circulated to parents, and signage.
The initiative had received positive coverage by the media, including as part of the Newsround children’s TV programme.
Smoke Free Schools is still in its infancy, so figures were not available detailing the numbers of schools already adopting the programme but an update could be provided to the Area Council when available.
Members discussed vaping, and it was acknowledged that their use is encouraged as a way of quitting smoking, and current evidence suggests they are safer, though no longer term studies are available. However, these are included in the Smoke Free areas, as it is thought that children cannot tell the difference between smoking and vaping.
Those present were supportive of the programme and agreed to encourage the adoption by schools in their area. It was agreed to circulate copies of the toolkit to Members for their information.
(i) That thanks be given for the presentation and the work in this important area; and
(ii) That the Smoke Free Schools programme be supported in the North Area;
(iii) That copies of the toolkit be circulated to Members for their information.