|Photo: Jorc Navarro|
And yet… the place my children come in to most contact with smokers and cigarette smoke is on the school playground. A notable amount of parents stand on the schoolplein waiting for their kids with a cigarette in their hand.
It is a topic that has been raised many times by parents. The school say they are not in a position to ban smoking on the school playground (how ironic does that sentence sound?) because it is actually council property and a public area. They did state they could try and discourage it but to date aside from a newsletter bulletin asking parents to place cigarette butts in the bin after the school kids had cleaned them all up from the playground, I have seen nothing on the topic. I kid you not: kids picked up all the butts.
The common sense seems to be there. But the willingness or courage to ban smoking in certain places seems to be absent (you only need to look at the situation in Dutch cafes to know what I mean by that!).
Smoking was a hot topic here when the results of Dutch infant mortality rate were published (in the European Perinatal Health report of December 2008). At this time it was stated that 13.8% of pregnant Dutch women continued to smoke throughout their pregnancy. (A 2010 report gave the figure at somewhere between 10% and 17%). Of course there are countries where smoking is far more prevalent than the Netherlands, and smoking during pregnancy much higher, but as this is the place I live I do notice a fair few pregnant women smoking around me and it never fails to shock me.
How is smoking around children perceived where you live? Is smoking on the school playground whilst waiting for children to finish school common and seen as acceptable? What about smoking during pregnancy – is that a taboo in the country you call home or an accepted part of the local culture?