Tobacco-free public spaces in Hérault

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Prades-le-Lez has just signed an agreement with the Hérault branch of the League against Cancer to create tobacco-free spaces.

Tobacco will soon be banned in labeled spaces around public places where children are (schools, crèches) thanks to a municipal decree. “We embarked on this project because residents complained about smoking in the playgrounds,” explained Gaëlle Masséi, deputy director general of the town.

Health and environmental goals

Tobacco is responsible for more than 78,000 deaths a year, it is the leading cause of preventable death in France,  say La Ligue Contre le Cancer.

Tobacco-free spaces allow everyone to move around in healthy public places. The approach consists of placing explanatory panels near the labeled places in order to motivate adults to stop smoking and protect the young.

“Currently, we are working to raise awareness among smokers and teachers,” Masséi continued.  “There is no question of stigmatising smokers, but of raising their awareness of their role as examples.”

This ban aims to reduce the presence of cigarettes in the daily lives of children, to protect them from passive smoking. The environmental impact should not be overlooked either: a cigarette butt contains thousands of chemicals that too often end up in the earth.

€ 38 per capita per year

And this pollution comes at a cost… Financed by local taxes, the collection of cigarette butts is estimated at €38 per inhabitant per year.

After a test phase, other municipal facilities such as the gymnasium, the sports hall and the sports centre could be labeled as tobacco-free zones.   In the meantime, the municipal police will do prevention work. “For the moment, we have not thought about imposing fines. We are not in a fight against smokers but in a fight against tobacco,” she concluded.

[More of this please!  Ed]

Source: Midi Libre