The first “tobacco-free space” in Joigny inaugurated for the Saint-Exupéry school on May 31

Every year in France 75,000 deaths are due to smoking. To combat the leading cause of preventable death, the Cancer League launched the “Space Without Tobacco” label in 2012. In Joigny, on Tuesday May 31, 2022, a first space was inaugurated for the Saint-Exupéry school by the Yonne committee of the League against Cancer in collaboration with Tab’agir. By June, about twenty will see the light of day in the city.

A space to “pull the boundaries of the law”

Nurseries, schools, parks, media libraries, sports halls… The chosen places are all frequented by children. These “tobacco-free” zones are delineated by markings on the ground and signs. For Étiennette Berrouet, volunteer of the Yonne Committee of the League Against Cancer, it is essential to widen the areas forbidden to smokers. “We need to push the boundaries of the law. It bans smoking in the school, but we need to go further and eliminate tobacco in the front. The spaces inaugurated today will be used for that.”

Maël, 7 years old, attends Saint-Exupéry School and appreciates the arrival of these zones. “It’s good that smokers are not allowed to smoke in certain places in the city. There are a lot of them and it’s not good for us. Besides, there are a lot of cigarette butts in front of the gate afterwards.” This initiative is also welcome from the parents’ side. “It’s very good, it prevents young people from looking at parents who smoke. There are young people who start in the sixth grade and they become more and more. The influence of adults plays a lot,” says Sabrina Badin, parents’ representative of students at the Saint -Exupéry school.

To expand these spaces to colleges and secondary schools, the municipality plans to begin a second phase in September. “From next school year, we will organize meetings with representatives of colleges and secondary schools to involve young people in the project,” explains Frédérique Colas, first deputy mayor of Joigny.

A project to “denormalize” but not only…

Denormalizing and sensitizing remain the main goals of these tobacco-free spaces. But Tab’agir and the Cancer League also warn about the other negative sides of tobacco.

“Manufacture, consumption, waste of cigarette butts… The damage to the environment is very significant. Passive smoking also has a major impact on health. It is also very expensive for the community, as it costs 38 euros per year and per person for collecting cigarette butts.

Etienne Berrouet (Volunteer of the Yonne Committee of the Cancer League)

In total there are 159 tobacco-free places spread over fifteen municipalities in the Yonne. Valuable data for the area. “Yonne is the fifth department in France with the most tobacco-free areas,” says Noëlia Trémeaux, responsible for prevention at the Yonne committee of the League against cancer.

Fifty-seven new tobacco-free spaces inaugurated in Auxerre

To make the inauguration more attractive, Tab’agir set up a prevention booth in front of the Saint-Exupéry school. Documentation, donations of kits, advice, testers… The volunteers were able to make smokers and non-smokers aware of the consequences of smoking. Significant impacts on health and the environment – the theme of World No Tobacco Day 2022 -. “The tobacco industry is not only the leading cause of cancer in France, but is also responsible for the loss of 600 million trees and the emission of approximately 84 million tons of CO2,” warns Serge Tcherakian, chairman of the icaunais committee of the League Against Cancer.

Louis Lamure

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