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Both the Alderman for Health and the Alderman for Youth, believe that seeing smoking makes more smokers

Leuven wants to ban smoking and e-cigarettes on 100 playgrounds

Leuven wants to ban smoking and e-cigarettes on 100 playgrounds

Local authorities explained that his policy hopes to sensitize people to not smoke in front of children and thus break the cycle of passing on the habit

Today, the Belgian city of Leuven announced they would ban smoking on 100 children’s playgrounds in one of the largest anti-smoking legislation in recent times. The move was provoked by the fact that Leuven signed the charter 'alliance for a smoke-free society' with Generation Smoke-free(Generatie Rookvrij) in 2021, making sports fields smoke-free, as well as answering petitions from local youth.

The policy amendment will include electronic cigarettes and will be featured as an amendment to police regulations. The local council, on the other hand, is scheduled to vote on it next week, with enforcement set to start on 30 June.

Seeing smokers makes smokers

The initiative to ban smoking on all of Leuven’s children’s playgrounds was spearheaded by the Alderman for Care and Welfare, Bieke Verlinden, and the Alderman for Youth, Dirk Vansina. Considering there are 100 of them, this would make Leuven take such a drastic step in one fell swoop.

According to a statement by the city, this was provoked by a desire for a cultural shift in adults and young people who smoke. Both Aldermen explained that citizens need to start to grow awareness of the fact that they set an example for children and help to perpetuate a vicious cycle of health-damaging addiction.

As they explained, this is why they target playgrounds specifically, as this is where many children come into contact with both adults and young people who smoke. Ultimately, this policy aims to sensitize residents and authorities not to smoke in the presence of children in general, turning the act into a taboo.  They were quoted in a press release, saying: “Seeing smoking makes smokers.”

Alderman Bieke Verlinden continued: “We all set an example for our children and young people. The smoke-free playgrounds and sports fields help set a good example for the next generation in the hope that they will be smoke-free.”

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