Youth Football goes smoke-free this weekend

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Smokefree Sidelines
Smokefree Sidelines
Smokefree Sidelines
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Norfolk Football clubs campaign for healthier playing areas with #smokefreesidelines

Youth Football Clubs kick off their seasons this weekend and do so knowing their sidelines will be smoke-free.

#SmokefreeSidelines is a new initiative with the aspiration to prevent smoking tobacco in football environments being seen as normal. It aims to encourage spectators to refrain from smoking pitchside and near playing areas, where impressionable children and young people can see it.  The campaign is accompanied by a hard hitting graphic that helps parents understand why going smokefree is so important.

The campaign was launched in July at Norfolk FA’s largest tournament - The FDC Youth Cup, by NHS Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Smokefree Norfolk and Norfolk FA, with the support from Norfolk District Councils. In the last two months 12 clubs have signed up to become a ‘Champion’ of the scheme for their district. Fakenham Town FC were the first club to get involved  in the project, flying the flag for North Norfolk, with Horsford Youth and Aylsham following up for the Broadland District.

Promotion since the launch has seen the number of clubs increase to double figures, with each district of the county having a presence in their area ahead of this weekend’s Youth Football season openers:

Clubs currently involved in #smokefreesidelines for 17/18:

Fakenham Town FC

Horsford Youth FC

Aylsham FC

Shouldham Youth FC

Thetford Town FC

Dereham Town Youth FC

Thetford Rovers FC

Old Catton JFC

Cringleford FC

Scole United FC

Gorleston Rangers FC

Gorleston FC

Watch a video of the launch of #smokefreesidelines here: https://youtu.be/7Cz7Nk_zc8k

With the chosen clubs being provided with a range of free merchandise including pitchside flags, t-shirts and banners thanks to funding from each of the District Councils, it is hoped that each of the Norfolk clubs will be able to spread the word throughout the season and play their part in making football a healthier place for all involved.

Smokefree Sidelines

Norfolk FA Chairman, Michael Banham with Fakenham Town U9's at The FDC Youth Cup in July.

The Chair of NHS Norwich CCG, Tracy Williams, said: “Children are influenced by what they see, they copy what adults do and young people are most at risk of becoming smokers themselves if they grow up in communities where smoking is the norm.

"The most effective way to prevent young people from becoming smokers is to encourage adult smokers to quit and to remove young people’s exposure to smoking.”

Norfolk FA Chairman, Michael Banham said: “We at Norfolk FA are delighted that so many clubs have come forward to get involved in a project that can have a real positive impact on the lives of Norfolk’s youth footballers.

“We are hopeful that the fantastic response we have seen this season will only increase awareness, resulting in more clubs getting involved in 2018 and less children being exposed to smoking.”

Smokefree Norfolk is the NHS service that helps people quit and also reduce the number of people starting smoking in the first place. James Wade, from Smokefree Norfolk, added: “Around 35% of children who smoke start around the age of 12 years with 90% of those children starting smoking because a family member does or because they feel peer pressure from their friends. "

Being a smoke free club is not about unfairly targeting smokers. Rather, it is about promoting Norfolk Football clubs as healthy and inclusive places, where the wellbeing of all, and particularly children and young people, is a priority.

For more information about the Smokefree Sidelines project and to express your interest at being involved in the 2018 campaign, please email Marketing@NorfolkFA.com. If you – or anyone you know – smokes and would like NHS support to quit then you can search online for Smokefree Norfolk or call 0800 0854 113.