New petition seeks to ban smoking from children’s playgrounds

A mum-of-one has launched a petition to ban smoking in park playgrounds after observing a woman smoking on a seesaw near her son at her local park.

Singer-songwriter Annie Dressner felt she had to take her toddler away from the area because of the risk posed by passive smoking.

The singer has launched a petition asking the government to make it illegal to smoke in park play areas.

Dressner, who moved to Cambridge from New York, where smoking in parks is banned, says in her petition: “Yesterday a woman asked if it would bother me if she smoked in the playground while on the seesaw with her young daughter. When I said it would bother me, she told me that my one-year-old son would turn out to be ‘arrogant’ and smoked anyway. Secondhand smoke, even outside, is dangerous for kids.”

She added: “Currently, there are some voluntary bans in England. Wales has banned it on [some] beaches; Paris and New York City have banned [smoking in parks]. I think it is time this becomes legislation. People can smoke to and from the playground but not in or close enough to blow the smoke on vulnerable children and potentially many pregnant mothers.”

The petition has gathered more than 2,000 signatures.

Some councils in England have already introduced voluntary bans.

However, Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ group Forest, said: “There’s no justification for a ban on smoking in children’s play areas, voluntary or otherwise. Very few adults smoke in playgrounds and there’s no evidence that smoking in the open air is a health risk to anyone else, including children.”

The Department of Health said it has no plans to ban smoking in open spaces and that it is a matter for councils.

To view the petition, click here.