The local authorities of Braaschat, Essen, Kalmthout, Kappeln and Wustwezel are taking steps towards a smoke-free generation for the youth. They do this in the context of Generation Smoke Free, an initiative that strives for as many smoke-free environments as possible, both inside and outside the home. World No Tobacco Day was a signal to make sports fields and playgrounds smoke-free in these municipalities together with the Intermunicipal Prevention Worker and Logo Antwerp.
Nandi Krunkelsven is the Intermunicipal Prevention Worker who will guide the five municipalities. “The aim of this action is to save children from tobacco addiction,” says Nandi. Christel Vande Kerkhove, regional coordinator of the Foundation Against Cancer, explained what Generation Smoke Free is. “We want to protect every child born in 2019 from exposure to tobacco smoke at every stage of growing up, so that being smoke-free is inevitable and non-smoking becomes the norm. At the same time, we want to encourage smokers to quit.”
Action is based on two pillars. That’s why municipalities will create places where more and more children come smoke-free, such as playgrounds, playgrounds, youth associations, petting zoos, school environments and care areas. In addition, they want to find as many partners as possible to participate, such as municipalities, umbrella organizations and companies. “This is a campaign for every resident,” says Stephanie Verheyden of Logos Antwerp. “Action is also part of the measures for healthy and safe municipalities. Therefore it is also necessary to lobby for the realization of the first smoke-free generation with the support of all political parties.”
Ernout van Wustwezel, Alderman of Kalyan, explained how Wustwezel works. “We received favorable advice from the Health and Welfare Council, the Sports Council and the Youth Council. We want to challenge and support. During a municipal littering drive with fourth grade students, it was found that many cigarette butts are still thrown The kids thought it was gross. We’re not going to smoke, they said. We want to support those good intentions.” Representatives of municipalities signed the banner of Generation Smoke Free. Then there was a bubble-blowing campaign with members of the after-school care kids and the youth editor of the information magazine W-TJ. “I’d rather blow bubbles than smoke,” was the advice. (Neil Vermeeren)