Smoking ban proposal for Cumbria play parks

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Children's play parks in Cumbria could become smoke-free areas in an effort to dissuade young people from taking up the habit.

The county's Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB) said the move could help reduce instances of heart disease and strokes.

Support is being sought from district councils and housing associations to introduce enforcement measures.

The HWB includes representatives from the NHS, local councils, police and voluntary agencies.

'Premature deaths'

Cumbria county councillor Beth Furneaux, who chairs the board, said: "This is an important step in reducing smoking rates and should be seen as nipping the problem in the bud, instead of dealing with the smoking issue once it's already taken hold.

"We're concentrating on smoking for one very good reason - it is still the number one source of premature deaths in deprived areas and I want us to do all we can to stop that."

Cumbria County Council, cabinet member for public heath, Patricia Bell, added: "We do have a problem with high numbers of smokers in some areas of the county.

"Smoking has become less visible over the last few years and a potential ban in play areas will prove to young people that their health is our priority."

The HWB was established in 2012 under moves to switch responsibility for some health matters from the NHS to local authorities.

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