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Medway pupils call on parents to stop smoking at school gates

By Chris Hunter

Children have been drafted in to help persuade parents not to smoke at the school gates.

Medway Council’s Smoke Free School Gates project aims to discourage parents from smoking with posters made by school pupils, and so far 2,300 young people from 11 Medway schools have been involved.

Deanwood Primary School children are hoping these signs will put parents off from smoking at the school gates

Deanwood Primary School children are hoping these signs will put parents off from smoking at the school gates

While there’s no legal basis to ban smoking at school gates, many parents and teachers are worried about children having to dodge dozens of parents lighting up at the gates every morning and afternoon. And they’re hoping smokers are more likely to take a ticking off from youngsters than council officers or school teachers.

Participating schools get a visit from the council’s Public Health child health team, who introduces the project and offers advice about smoking - before children get the chance to design posters.

One poster from each year group is then selected to be displayed at the school gates or around the school site.

Scott Elliott, Head of Health and Wellbeing at Medway Council, said: "All schools in Medway have the opportunity to sign up to our Smoke Free School Gates project.

"The project discourages parents from lighting up at the school gates, and helps to denormalise smoking as well as reduce inhalation from second hand smoke.

"The feedback we have received from the schools that have signed up to the project, and from the parents, has been great. The poster competitions have been popular with the children and have helped to encourage parents to make a conscious effort of being smoke free near schools.

"Residents in Medway expressing a desire to quit also have the opportunity of getting free advice from trained advisers as part of the council’s stop smoking service. Smokers are offered one-to-one appointments at the Medway Stop Smoking Shop in Railway Street, Chatham, to help them reach their goal of quitting."

Anyone who would like more information on the Medway Stop Smoking Service, which helps promote healthier living, can call 01634 334800 or 0800 234 6805, or email medwaystopsmokingservice@nhs.net

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