Brechin’s new £90,000 playpark looks set to become the first smoke-free facility of its kind in Angus as part of a plan to stub out the habit at facilities across the county.
The new park will be built at the town’s community campus to fill a gap in the north west of the burgh as part of a five-year district-wide play area improvement strategy.
Communities committee councillors unanimously backed the new facility, which will have public right of way access from Duke Street leading to the Banks and Brechin nature trail.
It will be fenced off and overlooked by the £26 million campus building, opened in 2016 and including a new Brechin High School.
Council chiefs have now a smoking ban for the playpark in a first for Angus after a plea by Kirriemuir SNP councillor Julie Bell.
She said: “I am really pleased to see this coming forward, it’s another piece in the jigsaw for children across the whole of Angus,” she said.
“This is a good opportunity for us to extend the smoke-free status of the campus to the playpark. It is a huge aspiration of mine that all our playparks become smoke-free zones.”
She has also asked for the council’s wider tobacco control strategy to be brought back before members for scrutiny, stating: “This could be a wonderful opportunity to start as we mean to go on to protect our children from the harmful effects of smoking, to perhaps stop them smoking themselves and to hopefully eventually reduce the work that needs to be done around cessation.”
The issue is also on the radar of Dundee City Council, with community representatives being quizzed on their view of a ban at playparks across the council area.
Initially the ban would target the play areas in city and country parks such as Camperdown, with signs erected to notify adults that they are in a smoke-free zone.
If successful, the signage would then be expanded to all public parks across the city.
Other authorities already have controls in place, including Edinburgh City Council which brought in a playpark smoking ban in 2015.
Latest figures show that, in Scotland, tobacco use is associated with over 10,000 deaths and around 128,000 hospital admissions every annually.
Although smoking prevalence in Scotland has decreased gradually over time, the Scottish Government has said reducing smoking further remains a priority for improving the nation’s health.
Smoking prevalence has declined from 31% of adults in 2003 to 21% in 2016.