Oxfordshire Smokefree Sidelines aims to introduce a culture of smokefree sidelines at matches to reduce harm for those exposed to smoking.
Smoking remains the biggest cause of preventable deaths in Oxfordshire, often starts as a childhood addiction and evidence shows that most adult smokers started smoking at a young age.
One approach to address this is to promote outside spaces used by children and young people as voluntary smokefree areas. By adopting a smokefree sidelines policy, Oxfordshire’s clubs can create healthy, family-friendly environments.
Together with Oxfordshire Football Association and youth leagues, this new collaboration will promote smokefree sidelines to provide healthy, safe places that give everyone a chance to perform at their best while playing football. Clubs taking part will also be able to educate club members, including children and young people, about the dangers of smoking and the short and long-term health consequences of smoking.
Clubs who agree to adopt an Oxfordshire Smokefree Sidelines policy and participate will receive a range of support and benefits including free brief intervention training, a pre-written policy, promotional material and free resources for games and training sessions.
Michael Thurlow from Oxfordshire FA says: “We are delighted to be launching this fantastic initiative that will help improve the playing environment for young players across the county. We want to encourage grassroots youth clubs across Oxfordshire to sign up and pledge to become smoke free.”
Dr Adam Briggs, Consultant in Public Health says: “We are proud to be supporting Smokefree Sidelines. As part of our ambition for Oxfordshire to be smoke free by 2025, this initiative will help to create a healthy environment for children and young people to enjoy playing sport.”
Lauren Juggins from Rose Hill Youth Football Club commented: “Rose Hill Youth FC have signed up to Oxfordshire Smokefree Sidelines, as we want to promote a healthy atmosphere for children to play a sport they LOVE, without being exposed to passive smoke. We do not want children to think smoking is ok, as they are not aware of the dangers and health risks smoking can cause.
The more we discourage smoking for this generation we will all benefit by becoming fitter and healthier. The impact for the future in society is already looking brighter.”
Rob Roslyn from Oxfordshire Youth Football League says: “The Oxfordshire Youth Football League is proud to support this important initiative to help promote a healthy playing environment for all youth players. We would encourage all grassroots youth football clubs across Oxfordshire to sign up to become a smoke free sidelines club over the coming months.”
Josh Lenthall from Active Oxfordshire added: “We fully support this excellent county-wide collaboration. With activity levels for children at an all-time low as a result of COVID-19, this collaboration will make a real difference in creating a healthier and more positive environment for Oxfordshire’s children and young people to enjoy the benefits of physical activity.”
For more information about Oxfordshire Smokefree Sidelines, please click here