It’s No Smoking Day across the country today (Wednesday, March 9), but every day will be No Smoking Day at all nine Central Bedfordshire Council children’s centres after they all signed up to Kick Ash - a smoking prevention programme aimed at young people.
In addition to banning smoking anywhere on children’s centre premises, the Kick Ash programme promotes a ‘proud to be smoke-free’ message to children and young people to discourage them from starting to smoke when they are older.
Kick Ash also aims to educate families about the dangers of second-hand cigarette smoke, which puts children at risk of conditions including cancer and respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
Hazel Jeffrey, Manager at Leighton Buzzard Children’s Centre, said: “We’re really proud to have joined Kick Ash and will be raising awareness of the programme this No Smoking Day.
“The work that we do and the services we provide, all aim to give a child the very best start in life – and we think that should mean a smoke-free start. We’ll be working with children and their families to raise awareness of the harmful effects of smoking and to encourage them to make their homes and cars smoke-free for everyone’s good health.”
Cllr Maurice Jones, Executive Member for Health at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “From national figures we know that two-thirds of smokers start before the age of 18. By rolling out Kick Ash to our children’s centres, we hope to raise awareness of the health harms of smoking from an early age and to encourage and support parents and carers to be smoke-free role models.”
No Smoking Day is the British Heart Foundation’s annual campaign to encourage smokers to quit and the charity estimates that around 10 million people in the UK still smoke.
You can find out more about Kick Ash by visiting www.kickash.org.uk
If you’d like free, friendly advice on stopping smoking and a free Quit Kit, call the Central Bedfordshire Stop Smoking Service on 0800 013 0553 and press ‘1’. You can also get information and advice by visiting www.smokefreebedfordshire.co.uk.