CONTROVERSIAL no smoking signs are to go up in parks around Blackpool.
Plans were last night approved by Blackpool Council’s executive committee for the signage to be placed in the green spaces – similar to ones already installed at playgrounds across the resort.
It is hoped they will help deter children and young people from taking up the habit, which claims the lives of around 400 people each year in Blackpool.
Coun Ivan Taylor, ward councillor for Claremont, spoke in support of the proposals at last night’s meeting, where the committee voted unanimously in favour of the signs.
He said: “We are trying to deter young people from smoking.
“This is making sure children are not playing in that kind of ambience, where people are smoking around them.”
The committee approved the plans after reading research which shows the less children see adults smoke the more likely smoking will become less socially acceptable and decrease the number of young people who start.
NHS Blackpool will foot the £30,000 cost of the signs.
Some critics have said they are a waste of money as, at present, a smoking ban is not enforceable.
However, the council could seek to introduce by-laws under the Localism Bill in the future.
Coun Taylor added: “Smoking is something we cannot be complacent about.
“It not only kills, it disables so many people. From my point of view, if we can save one life it’s worth it.”
The signs, which have already led to one resident resigning from his role as Vice Chairman of a parks association in protest, have sparked debate among councillors and residents though.
Chris Palk-Smith last month stood down from his role within Friends of East Pine Park in Anchorsholme in disagreement with the signs.
Coun Don Clapham, ward councillor for Bispham, said: “I think the money could have been better spent.
“I’m sure that had they been smaller the message would still be taken on board and it would have cost less.
“The signs I have seen around the Bispham area are enormous. One on Red Bank Road has already been battered by the wind, it just won’t last.
“If one of those blows over it could do worse damage than a cigarette.”
Signs similar to those to be erected in Blackpool parks have already been placed around Blackpool Victoria Hospital and Blackpool FC’s Bloomfield Road stadium.
Anecdotal evidence suggests smoking and related litter have been reduced at both sites.
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