MILLBROOK Primary School has once again beaten the rest to become the first in Tameside to win a Smokefree Gates award.
Parents have been banned from smoking at the gates of the Bank Road campus as part of a drive by Tameside Council.
And the message is clear as soon as you get anywhere near them, thanks to posters designed by the ‘Safety Squad’.
You cannot light up anywhere near – it is fresh air or nothing.
Pupils have designed posters and signage to inform parents, carers and visitors attending the school that it is smokefree and not to smoke.
Teacher Vicki Paul was joined by Charlotte Lee, programme officer for children and young people and Victoria Hamlett, programme officer in tobacco control at the council to find out the reasons behind the drive to push out smoking.
After getting together in the school’s library, the children in the school’s Safety Squad – a group of pupils placed in charge of making sure fellow pupils are as safe as possible – outlined some of the consequences of smoking.
It was revealed a new child starts to smoke every hour in Greater Manchester, which is a new classroom of smokers every day and children who are exposed to smoking are more likely to become smokers themselves.
They highlighted the increased chance of lung cancer, the possibility of dying earlier and the effects it can have on people suffering with asthma.
One of the Safety Squad, Jamie, said: “I’m going home to tell my mum and dad to stop smoking.
“And I’m never going to smoke in my life. I won’t be a smoker.”
The posters, which were put up on December 18, were designed after pupils spoke to the school council and worked with teachers before placing them outside.
And they have obviously proved popular as Vicki revealed she had been inundated with requests from children to put them up.
A proud teacher said: “Every single dinnertime, I was asked, ‘Where and when can we put the posters up?’
“I was like, ‘I’m eating my dinner!’”
The drive for school gates to become smoke-free comes from Tameside Council’s desire to clean up the air and provide a healthier environment.
The aim of the scheme is to, ‘de-normalise and reduce exposure to smoking behaviour for children and young people,’ which supports the decline in smoking rates as 80 per cent of people in Tameside do not smoke.
Cllr Brenda Warrington, Tameside Council’s executive leader, said: “Everyone must be aware of the dangers of tobacco.
“It’s the biggest cause of preventable death and linked to many diseases, including cancer.
“Children exposed to smoking are significantly more likely to take up the habit themselves.”