SMOKING has been banned at play areas across Hyndburn after a survey found it was what children using them wanted.

The ban, which is voluntary at first, will urge parents who take their children to borough council-run play parks to stub it out.

Posters designed by local youngsters asking people to ‘please take it away, we’re trying to play’ and not smoke in play areas are on display.

Hyndburn Council, in partnership with NHS East Lancashire and Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, has launched the voluntary ban following a consultation with play facility users which revealed that most people would strongly support it.

The signs were designed by 10 year olds Lewis Padden, Zaria Hussain and Amber Grewer–Boys from St Mary’s RC Primary School, Oswaldtwistle. Teacher Andrew Bentley said: “The children were really keen to be involved in the campaign to encourage people not to smoke around their play area.

“Amber came up with the slogan ‘please take it away, we’re trying to play’ while Lewis and Zaria came up with the design.

“We are keen to protect our children from second hand smoke, so we are all pleased that their work will be on display in play areas across Hyndburn asking people not to smoke in them.”

Karen Thompson, public heath consultant for Hyndburn, said: “Through this great scheme we hope to discourage young people from taking up smoking and protect them from starting something that could ultimately kill them.

Coun Pam Barton said: “When we asked play facility users about introducing a voluntary smoke free play area scheme there was lots of support for it. The code is voluntary and we are politely asking people not to smoke in play areas as most people don’t want children to pick up the smoking habit in the first place and children learn a lot through imitation.”