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Smokefree sports championed by parents in Bury

News   •   Feb 15, 2017 15:55 GMT

Maccabi sports and community club in Bury held its first smokefree football match to promote healthy behaviour to children, and was widely supported by parents asking for ‘more smokefree sports events to be smokefree for children'.

The campaign, run by local social enterprise Healthier Futures, is a pilot scheme running from January to March 2017. Healthier Futures visited the club this Sunday (12 February) to talk to parents and coaches about the positives of healthy, shared community spaces for families, and the negative impact of smoking on children.

There was high support for more smokefree sports events from parents, with many signing a smokefree sports pledge at the club.

Johnny Cohen, 38, from Bury said: “I used to be a smoker and I think smokefree sports is fabulous. I’m glad that my child will not be subjected to smoking on the side lines.”

James Berger, 43, from Bury said: “This is fantastic, I would like my child to play sport in a smokefree zone. This is a great initiative. I don’t like anyone smoking near my children.”

Demand for smokefree outdoor events and spaces with children present is high across Greater Manchester. A survey carried out by Healthier Futures in 2015, found that 83% of people surveyed in Greater Manchester agreed that there should be no smoking at outdoor events which are specifically for children and families.

The pilot campaign has been organised by Manchester-based social enterprise Healthier Futures on behalf of Greater Manchester local authorities who want to address the impact of smoking on children.

Councillor Trevor Holt, Bury Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We are committed to tackling the harms caused by tobacco, therefore it is important to ensure our shared outdoor spaces in Bury are healthy, safe places for children to play sports in. We recognise that there is high demand locally for more smokefree events for children and this pilot campaign is an important step in achieving this for Bury.

“Sports and smoking don’t mix, and are not part of a healthy sporting lifestyle. We hope to see more local clubs take this positive step to protect children and families.”

Adrian Kay, chair of Maccabi sports and community club, said: “As chair of Maccabi sports and community club, I am really excited to be part of this campaign which will protect our children and ensure a healthy smokefree space for them to play in. At the Maccabi sports and community club, we are always looking for ways to encourage healthy living for the children, their parents, our coaches and other club officials and taking part in this pilot campaign underlines our commitment to this.”

Andrea Crossfield, chief executive of Healthier Futures, said: "It is great to see so much support for the Smokefree Sports pilot campaign at Maccabi sports and community club in Bury. This is a positive step forward which will help to promote healthy behaviour to children and create more family-friendly spaces. 

“In Greater Manchester, 83% of people surveyed agreed that there should be no smoking at outdoor events which are specifically for children and families. We hope other sports clubs will listen to local people and implement a smokefree policy.

“The more spaces that become smokefree, the less likely children are to take up smoking – preventing them from entering into a deadly addiction that kills one in two long-term smokers.”


Issued: 15 February 2017.

Picture: Johnny and smokefree ambassadors signing the pledge at Maccabi.

About Smokefree Sports

Smokefree Sports is a pilot initiative running in Greater Manchester from January to March 2017. The campaign aims to increase acceptance and support for smokefree sports events, informing smokers and non-smokers about the benefits of healthy smokefree outdoor sporting environments. It will build momentum for a wider social movement to increase the number of family-friendly smokefree outdoor sports environments, making it easier for children to not start smoking and supporting adults to quit.

Healthier Futures is a social enterprise and our mission is to help people live longer, healthier, happier lives. We do this by:

  • Working to make smoking history for children
  • Creating communities free from alcohol harm
  • Empowering communities to live longer, healthier, happier lives

Our comprehensive approaches to creating healthier futures involve:

  • Managed programmes for tobacco and alcohol, as well as integrated programmes
  • Delivering award-winning campaigns to reduce the impact of alcohol and tobacco
  • Youth-led and youth-focused campaigns, programmes and action
  • Training and empowering healthcare professionals
  • Consulting with local areas to prioritise issues and co-create solutions
  • Working with partners to shape national, regional and local policy and legislation

As a social enterprise, all surpluses we generate are re-invested in our mission to help people live longer, healthier, happier lives. Web: