This initiative gives parents the chance to help their child to not start smoking, by making their club ground a healthier place to enjoy playing and watching football.
Smokers who cheer on family and friends playing football are being encouraged to leave cigarettes and vape pens at home to create Smokefree Sidelines across Rushcliffe.
Rushcliffe Borough Council, Rushcliffe Clinical Commissioning Group and Nottinghamshire FA are encouraging more spectators to act as positive role models and not smoke when attending games or training involving both children or adults participating in the sport.
It’s part of the authority’s drive to ensure sports clubs are healthy and inclusive places, where the wellbeing of all, but particularly children and young people, is a priority.
Vaping is included in the initiative to help guard against younger age groups being exposed to the activity which still carries a health risk.
The campaign is empowering parents and club officials to report smoking or vaping on the sidelines or in the view of children to a nominated club official who can highlight the campaign and what it is trying to achieve.
Prominent local clubs including West Bridgford Colts, Keyworth United, Edwalton Cavaliers, Cotgrave Colts, East Leake Bantams and Radcliffe Olympic have pledged their support to the scheme installing banners at their respective grounds and players are now wearing campaign bibs during training to spread the message.
Rushcliffe GP Jeremy Griffiths said: “Children copy what they see and if their Mum or Dad smokes they are three times more likely to start smoking with 2/3 of adult smokers starting before age 18.
“This initiative gives parents the chance to help their child to not start smoking, by making their club ground a healthier place to enjoy playing and watching football.
“At the same time, it encourages smoking parents or carers to seek out help to join the rising number of quitters across Notts who by stopping improve their chances of avoiding cancer, heart and lung disease. And that is a win for everyone!”
Rushcliffe Borough Council’s Deputy Leader Cllr Debbie Mason said: “It’s heartening to see so many clubs commit to this project that will provide even further protection from smoking to young people and all footballers when they take to the field.
“We know the vast majority of family members and spectators who watch local sport are always good healthy role models, but this effort is helping even more play their part in being responsible spectators.”
Football Development Manager at Nottinghamshire FA, Marc Birkett said: “Nottinghamshire FA are proud to be working with partners to promote healthy lifestyles and make a positive impact on the grassroots football environment.
“It will be great to see this project develop as more clubs become involved and we hope this programme can roll out across the county in the future.”
There is a wide range of free support that can be accessed to help quit smoking.
The most effective way to quit for good is to use the local stop smoking service, which is normally free of charge. Visit the NHS website or call Smokefree Life Nottinghamshire on 0115 772 2515.