CHILDREN from Grangetown Primary School have come together to raise awareness of the dangers of second-hand smoke.

Hitting shops and businesses in Grangetown, the Year 6 pupils have made handmade signs for shops to display, requesting people not to smoke directly outside the premises. The aim is to stop children being exposed to smoke when entering the shops.

This is all part of the Smokefree Communities Project, a council scheme which is being developed in three wards within the borough – Grangetown, Loftus and Kirkleatham. The aim of the Grangetown project is to help improve the health and wellbeing of local communities by reducing the number of people who smoke, and the number of people who are exposed to second-hand smoke.

In this ward, more than 250 adults and school children took part in a consultation, which included interviews, school questionnaires and focus groups. Residents identified that harms of second-hand smoke was a main concern.

Now the schoolchildren at Grangetown Primary School have been given information directly about the dangers of smoking and have hit the shops to try and make a difference.

Councillor Lynn Pallister, Cabinet Member for health, housing and welfare at Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, said: “Across the UK, over 800 children visit their doctor every day due to the serious effects of second-hand smoke exposure which puts them at increased risk of lung disease, meningitis and cot death. Treatment, hospital and GP visits for second-hand smoke related illnesses costs the NHS more than £23.6 million each year.

“It is wonderful to see these children engage with the local community to try and tackle something that they feel so passionately about and that is proven to have a damaging effect on health.

“These children are doing a fantastic job setting this example, and I hope local businesses show their support.”

To help better protect the environment, pupils are also trying to tackle the littering of cigarette ends by asking shops to stock special pouches to give away for free. These can store cigarettes until a bin becomes available rather than people littering them on the floor.

Local residents are also asked to discard their cigarettes butts in a fun ballot bin which has been erected at the bus stop outside the Chemist on Birchington Avenue.

Grangetown Primary School’s Year 6 teacher, Mr Stephen Jackson, said: “The children have been really enthused by the engaging SmokeFree sessions and want to make a difference. It is hoped that these children can start to revolutionise the thinking in the local vicinity and are the catalyst for change. They have passed what they have been learning onto parents and family members, with the ultimate hope we can lessen the harm second-hand smoke causes around Grangetown.”

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