Ashton-under-Lyne RFC has become the first sports club in Tameside to become smokefree for all children and young people’s matches and tournaments.
Because of this, the club’s whole grounds will be smokefree, including vaping, when children or young people are either training or playing rugby. This policy came into force at a tournament held on Sunday 18 Nov.
The coaches for the club’s mini and junior teams will be trained in smokefree sports, including the harms of smoking and promoting a healthy smokefree lifestyle. Sports coaches can be role models to children and young people and positively influence them to lead a healthy smokefree lifestyle.
Since joining the Tameside Council backed initiative, Ashton RFC will display smokefree sports signage and signpost smokers to local stop smoking service Be Well Tameside.
This follows the results of the GM History Makers survey which showed 4 out of 5 people in Greater Manchester want to extend smokefree public spaces.
Tameside Council’s Population Health team is backing a range of smokefree initiatives, including smokefree sport, to reduce the number of children and young people exposed to smoking.
The majority of people start smoking regularly before the age of 18 and children who live with smokers are 3-4 times more likely to also become smokers.
Protecting children and young people from seeing adults smoking helps to prevent them from viewing smoking as normal or something to copy.
There has been some success in the borough recently as the smoking rates have recently fallen to 17.6%.
Cllr Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council, said: “This is a highly ambitious initiative and it’ll be great to see more of our local sports clubs joining in the coming weeks and months.
“We’re engaged in a variety of projects to cut smoking rates in the borough and the smokefree sports scheme will help to de-normalise the smoking behaviour. Many children and young people can be influenced by seeing the adults around them smoke. By reducing their exposure to smoking through schemes like smokefree sports it will help us make smoking history for the next generation.”
Rick Parker, chair of Ashton-under-Lyne RFC, said: “I am delighted we have become the first sports club in Tameside to take up the Smokefree Sport initiative. Having lost my mother earlier this year due to the effects of smoking, this was particularly close to my heart. This move has been completely supported by my fellow committee members, club members and mini & junior players’ parents alike”.
To find out more information on the campaign, visit https://www.tameside.gov.uk/adultservices/Smoke