Smokefree Sidelines Liverpool

Smoking gets kicked out of kids’ football matches

Smoking by adults at children’s football matches in Liverpool will be officially stubbed out from this weekend as the new season kicks off.

After a successful six-week pilot throughout the summer, Smokefree Sidelines Liverpool guidance will now apply and any adults smoking or vaping at matches or training sessions will be asked to stop by match officials.

Over 465 football teams play in the age groups up to under-11s in Liverpool with about 40,000 adults coming to cheer them on throughout the season.

Public Health Liverpool has worked in partnership with Liverpool County Football Association, Liverpool City Council’s parks and green spaces team, Liverpool FC Foundation, Everton in the Community, Anfield Sports and Community Centre, Pulse Limited, and Smokefree Liverpool to develop the policy that supports the city’s longstanding ambitions for children and young people to grow up smoke-free.

Research shows that there is no known safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, even if the exposure is outdoors. Also, if children are around adults who smoke they think it is more common than it actually is making them three times more likely to take up the habit as they get older.

Anyone who would like support to stop smoking can contact Smokefree Liverpool on 0800 061 4212, text QUIT to 66777, or visit www.smokefreeliverpool.co.uk

Cllr Clare McIntyre, assistant cabinet member for social care and health, and a “sideline mum” said: “Smokefree Sidelines Liverpool has been a great example of partnership working and we have seen real commitment from everyone involved to make this work.

“We have already had great feedback from parents and what it means for their children during this summer’s pilot so we’re confident about the initiative as we start the new season.

“We’ve had great success in encouraging people to give up smoking over the years and Smokefree Sidelines is another way of us sending the message that smoking around youngsters is never acceptable.”

David Pugh, chief executive of Liverpool County Football Association, said: “The launch of Smokefree Sidelines Liverpool at the Summer League in June was excellent and all of the city’s youth leagues are fully supporting this policy as we start the new season.

“As the governing body of football in Merseyside it is very important to us that children and young people can play the sport they love in a healthy environment.

“Football is an important part of family life across the area and the youth teams are the foundation of the Liverpool County FA’s footballing family. Smokefree Sidelines will safeguard both children’s health and the health of the game.”