As a kid-friendly town, Hoogstraten has recently been awarded the Generation Smoke-Free Label. It aims to create a society where children and youth grow up smoke free. The first step is to make sports grounds and their surrounding areas smoke-free. In addition, the city council organizes group sessions to stop smoking.
ronnie van den ackerveken
It is no coincidence that Hoogstraten will be announcing the Generation Smoke Free initiative on May 31, World No Tobacco Day. “Kids have a right to be smoke-free,” says Youth Alderman Faye Van Impe (N-VA). “In the long term, we want to create as many places as possible where children are smoke-free. Seeing smoke triggers smoking. Children often copy the behavior of adults. Mind not. Plus, they’re also protected from passive smoking.” Research shows that 74% of smokers do not want their children to ever start smoking.
“We are starting to make the sports and playgrounds in Hoogstraten smoke-free. In addition, the entrances to urban buildings with public functions have been declared smoke-free. This includes the library and the guest house with the House of the Child Smoke-free zones are delineated with signs and stickers. Later this year, the city council will hold discussions with schools, youth associations and sports clubs to get involved.” To encourage smoking, we hold group smoking cessation training under the supervision of a tobacconologist,” says Faye Van Impe. Students of Klein Seminary Elementary School blow soap bubbles in the playground near the swimming pool on Wednesday Soap bubbles are not a symbol of pure air and the unhealthy smell of tobacco smoke.
With fewer people smoking, the city hopes to reduce the number of discarded cigarette butts in the streets. “It takes fifteen years for a cigarette butt to decompose into microplastics,” explains Alderman Jeff Vissers (N-VA) of the Environment. “Those plastics are bad for the environment. Butts are a real nuisance in some places. That’s why we’ll be distributing free mini ashtrays from this summer. They can be found at every counter in town.”