PARENTS could be banned from smoking in play areas under a tobacco crackdown.

The County Durham Tobacco Alliance is consulting on making all 178 outdoor play areas owned by Durham County Council smoke-free zones.

Posters and stickers would be put up encouraging people not to smoke.

Further, owners of the other 129 play areas in the county would be asked to sign up to the code voluntarily.

Consultation has begun and runs until Friday, October 17.

The Alliance says making smoking less socially acceptable makes children less likely to take up the habit themselves.

Councillor Lucy Hovvels, the council’s cabinet member for safer and healthier communities, said: “Children are influenced by what they see and research shows that young people are most at risk of becoming smokers if they grow up in communities where smoking is the norm.

“The most effective way to prevent young people from becoming smokers is to encourage adult smokers to quit and to remove young people’s exposure to smoking.

“Making our play areas and play parks smoke-free is one of the ways in which we can change that social norm and hopefully prevent young people from taking up smoking.”

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