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No Smoking outside the school gates

students at UEL

A graduate of Public Health studies has applied her teaching to the real world by securing a ban on smoking outside the gates of her son’s school.

Marina Haque, who graduated from UEL last year, has been working for over two years as a volunteer for the London Borough of Enfield Public Health Team, and is also a parent governor at Carterhatch Junior School in Enfield.

Marina first secured a ban on teachers smoking outside the gates at the end of last year.  This year she agitated to broaden the ban to include parents. But she says she couldn’t have done it without the support of the pupils.

“I would say it was the pupils who embraced the campaign most enthusiastically,” reveals Marina.

To give the children some context on the topic, they were asked to fill in a pre- and post-campaign questionnaire to provide an insight into their level of knowledge of the dangers of smoking. 

Obviously the campaign was not without its opponents.  
“There were a few parents who challenged this implementation,” explains Marina, “with questions such as ‘What happens if I smoke anyway?’  To which I replied ‘It will not be me telling you to not smoke, it will be the children’.

Carterhatch is the first school in Enfield to implement a non-smoking policy outside its gates.  Children in Year 6 and Year 2 entered a competition to design a plaque to celebrate this, and it was unveiled at a ceremony attended by Dave Jones from Public Health England; Bernie Lappage, the Deputy Mayor of Enfield, and Paul Barraclough, Headteacher of Carterhatch. 

But Marina is not willing to rest there.  She is now planning to roll out her campaign to other schools in the capital.

“I am planning to launch a new campaign called 'Smoke-Free Schools', in order to target all schools in London,” she reveals.  “I will be conducting a long-term personal analysis on a few children in order to see if they become smokers, and I am aiming to import this specific research into a PhD.”

And her ultimate goal?

“I am eager to witness a smoke-free generation by alerting young children, from infants to primary school, on the danger of smoking.”

Notes to Editors

The University of East London (UEL) is a global learning community with students from over 120 countries world-wide. Our vision is to achieve recognition, both nationally and internationally, as a successful and inclusive regional university proud of its diversity, committed to new modes of learning which focus on students and enhance their employability, and renowned for our contribution to social, cultural and economic development, especially through our research and scholarship. We have a strong track-record in widening participation and working with industry.