County Wicklow GAA adopt its Smoke Free Policy to protect
“Young Lungs at Play”
Co. Wicklow GAA Smoke Free Policy was launched on Saturday 2nd November 2019 in Aras an Chontae, GAA County Grounds, Aughrim, Co Wicklow at the quarter finals of the Leinster Intermediate Hurling Club Championship. The Policy covers the County grounds and the GAA’s Centre of Excellence in Ballinakill.
This initiative is collaboration between Co. Wicklow GAA, HSE Health &Wellbeing and Co. Wicklow Community Partnership.
Martin Fitzgerald, Chair of Wicklow GAA County Board was delighted to have young players from Bray Emmets, Enniskerry and Annacurra clubs at the launch who are part of the GAA Healthy Club programme and who have already adopted a smoke free policy.
“Protecting our “young lungs” from the harm of second-hand smoke is a priority for the GAA” he said “my own home club of Annacurra has been smoke free for a number of years and was the first in Wicklow GAA to do so. Everyone now knows not to smoke in the club grounds”.
Brian Carty, CEO Co. Wicklow Partnership was delighted to be at the launch of the policy stating that research shows that young people can easily develop an addiction to smoking by mimicking adult behaviour. “Denormalising smoking is key for young people not to start smoking in the first place” he said. Co. Wicklow Community Partnership and the HSE Health & Wellbeing have actively engaged with sporting organisations and schools, encouraging and supporting the development and adoption of smoke free outdoor areas where children and families are present and making smoke free the norm.
David Murray, Chair of the County Wicklow GAA Health & Wellbeing committee emphasised the benefits of giving up smoking and seeking support to quit. In addition, he said, “It is vitally important that as role models for our young people, that we in the GAA lead the way. Today’s launch is the beginning of other clubs in the county adopting smoke free policies and ensuring that our young lungs at play get the best opportunity to go on to live healthy lives.” David went on to thank Wicklow Partnership for their support and in particular Anne Kavanagh and her predecessor Grainne Quinn. “this was an excellent example of how the GAA and local Community Partnerships can work together in line with the ethos of the Health and Wellbeing Policy in Croke Park”.
Martina Blake, National Lead, Tobacco Free Ireland Programme, HSE Health & Wellbeing said “Tobacco Free Ireland has a clear goal to de-normalise smoking among young people and support a Healthy Ireland for all to enjoy. We want the next generation of children to grow up in an environment where ‘smoke free‘ is the new norm. We know from research that children are hugely influenced by what they see and hear. We know that adults around them are powerful role models for both negative and positive health behaviours. The overall Tobacco free Ireland government strategy aims to create tobacco free local environments, in parks, playground and sporting grounds. The hope is that this initiative will encourage more people to think about quitting.
We’d encourage all smokers to access supports rather than trying to quit alone. Nicotine is very addictive and smoking is often associated with and reinforced by routine activities, people and situations. Planning and preparing for these situations in advance can help smokers quit successfully. Supporting communities to QUIT smoking is a core objective of HSE Health & Wellbeing.
Siobhan Fitzpatrick said “The ‘Young Lungs at play’ nationwide initiative will help ensure the children of Wicklow see and experience positive healthier environments as the norm. We are delighted to see our local community organisations working together to make this a reality.”
For further information on the “Young Lungs at Play” smoke free outdoor recreational area initiative contact: Anne Kavanagh / firstname.lastname@example.org/0402 20955
There are a wide range of effective supports available to help you to QUIT. Using our supports will help double your chances of success. Support to stop smoking is available by appointment at the HSE smoking cessation clinics in Wicklow and Arklow Primary Care centres, contact: 01 2744297 on quit.ie or our free national QUIT helpline 1800 201 203