Mother launches petition to ban smoking in playgrounds and children's parks

A mother has launched a petition to ban smoking in children's playgrounds.

Singer-songwriter Annie Dressner said she was inspired to launch the campaign after a woman started smoking near her and her toddler in a public park.

Despite smoking being banned in enclosed public spaces, it is still legal to smoke in most public parks and playgrounds.

Ms Dressner, who moved to Cambridge from New York, where smoking in parks is banned, wrote in her petition: "Yesterday a woman asked if it would bother me if she smoked in the playground while on the seesaw with her young daughter.

Annie Dressner hopes her petition will lead to a ban of smoking in public parks. Credit: Annie Dressner/Facebook

"When I said it would bother me, she told me that my one-year-old son would turn out to be 'arrogant', and smoked anyway.”

Ms Dressner said she was worried about secondhand smoke, which poses a special problem for children because their lungs and airways are less developed.

Third-hand smoke is the smoke that is leftover as residue on surfaces. If, for example, someone is smoking on a seesaw, the dangerous chemicals from that smoke will then be touched and possibly ingested by the children who will next use that playground equipment. Dogs are banned from kids' parks. Smoke should also be banned in and near them.

Annie Dressner

The petition has picked up over 1,400 signatures. If it reaches 10,000 signatures, the government will respond to the petition. At 100,000 signatures, the petition will be considered for debates in parliament.