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Clubs are good smoke-free sports

05 February 2018

David Bottomley and Councillor Sameena Zaheer pledging support. 6 local sports clubs have pledged to go smoke-free to give children the chance to enjoy physical activity without being subjected to harmful second-hand smoke.

The clubs pledged to sign up to the council’s Smokefree Sports Scheme at a special event held at Rochdale AFC’s Crown Oil Arena on Thursday, 1 February 2018.

They will now enforce a no smoking policy at their junior training sessions and matches to de-normalise smoking around children and young people. This means children and teenagers might be less likely to take up smoking, while also promoting healthy lifestyles and protecting children and families from the health harms caused by smoking.

'The scheme is a fantastic way to attract young people into a healthier world of sport'

David Bottomley, director at Rochdale AFC, attended the event to talk about the club’s experiences of going smoke-free and the impact it can have on the health of their supporters. He pledged his support for the scheme, saying:

“As a former smoker I’m against smoking because I’ve seen the negative effects it has on people’s lives. I smoked for 32 years but finally gave up at the age of 52 because it made me so ill I was hospitalised. The Smokefree Sports Scheme is a fantastic way to attract young people into a healthier world of sport and prevent them from taking up in the first place. We are committed to being smoke-free and we hope other clubs will do their part to make our borough healthier.”

The clubs that will become smoke-free are:

  • Bamford Tennis Club
  • Heywood Cricket Club
  • Littleborough Juniors Football Club
  • Rochdale Football in the Community
  • Rochdale Junior Football Club
  • Wardle Football Club

These clubs follow in the footsteps of Rochdale Sports Club and Bridge Juniors Football Club, who successfully implemented smoke-free policies last year.

It is hoped that all sports clubs in the borough with junior teams will become smoke-free and even extend the ban to their adult teams.

'Our ultimate aim is all children being smoke-free'

The scheme, run by the council in partnership with Link4Life and the Living Well Service, will provide the clubs with a policy, promotional signage and leaflets to help challenge anyone smoking on the touchlines. They will also provide support for those wanting to give up smoking via the local stop smoking service.

Councillor Sameena Zaheer, assistant to the cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We know that smoking is bad for your health as 1 in 2 long-term smokers die from smoking related diseases, such as heart disease, cancers and strokes. We also know sports are a great way to stay healthy so the 2 just don’t go together. I’m pleased to see our sports clubs taking this step towards our ultimate aim of all children and young people being smoke-free and living in a healthier, happier borough.”