On World No Tobacco Day all clubs participating in the Irish Life GAA Healthy Club project are encouraged to become Smoke & Vape Free grounds.
On World No Tobacco Day all clubs participating in the Irish Life GAA Healthy Club project are encouraged to become Smoke & Vape Free grounds. 

GAA clubs encouraged to become Smoke & Vape Free grounds

Today, 31st of May 2022 is World No Tobacco Day.

To celebrate this, we want to encourage all clubs participating in the Irish Life GAA Healthy Club project to become Smoke & Vape Free grounds. This means that smoking is prohibited anywhere in the club vicinity.

To date 60% of participating Healthy Clubs have already implemented the GAA Smoke & Vape Free Policy which aims to:

· protect the health of individuals in their clubs, wider communities, and visitors by keeping them safe from all tobacco related harm

· discourage the use of tobacco as such activity is incompatible with a healthy approach to sporting activity

· change social norms and encourage people to consider quitting and to reduce the initiation of smoking among young people.

· set a positive example for clubs and communities

· reduce tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke, which is severely harmful to people’s health

· minimise tobacco and electronic cigarette related litter

Oola GAA club in Limerick adopted the policy back in 2019 after consulting with their membership and wider community. Progressive Club Chairperson, Derek Ryan explains that their motivation was all about creating a healthy environment, particularly for their younger members.

“If you want to be progressive, you need to row in with these national healthy club initiatives. It has been a great success in Oola and everyone has got on board with it. We aren’t about clamping down on people, we simply don’t want people in around the field smoking in front of our younger members. Thankfully people adhere to it very well and we haven’t come across too much resistance so far”

Oola’s Healthy Club Officer, Treasa Ryan was the main driver of the policy and when she approached the Club Executive back in 2019 it was well received but there was some apprehension around enforcing and monitoring the policy.

“No-one wanted to upset anyone that may have been coming to the club for years and smoking on the side-line. That was our only worry and it need not have been as its never a problem. We always assume that if someone sparks up, they haven’t seen the smoke free signage and isn’t aware of the policy. There is no issue when people are made aware of it and are usually very apologetic”.

Many clubs across the country work in partnership with their local national schools in advance of launching the Smoke & Vape Free policy. Introducing a poster competition is a great way to involve the children and get them on board.

Richard Bowles from Oola GAA speaks about the benefits from a parent’s perspective:

“I think its great for any parents of children involved and for ourselves, as adults, to see the example being set within the club. As a parent you know your children are coming to a healthy and safe environment, surrounded by positive role models and that’s important”.

The GAA Smoke & Vape Free initiative, which is implemented through the Irish Life GAA Healthy Clubs project is kindly supported by Healthy Ireland and the Tomar Trust. Over 440 clubs across the 32 counties are participating in the ground- breaking project which aims to transform clubs into hubs for health within their communities. The Smoke & Vape free initiative is also filtrating into the county structures with some progressive county boards interested in driving this agenda. As well as the obvious health impacts of introducing such a policy, the environmental impacts are also important for the Association.

Aoife O’Brien, GAA National Healthy Club Coordinator explains that “The Smoke & Vape Free initiative has been such a success thanks to our wonderful partners; Irish Life, Healthy Ireland and the Tomar Trust. We never would have been able to scale it up at this rate without their support. The provision of durable smoke free signage for clubs really helps with visibility and raising awareness”.

How to get involved:

Smoke & Vape free signage will be offered free of charge to clubs across the 32 counties on a first come first served basis. Clubs participating in the Irish Life GAA Healthy Clubs project will be prioritised and if additional funding is available, it will be extended to the wider club network. County grounds are also encouraged to apply:

Step 1: Review and download the GAA Smoke & Vape free policy, step by step guide and presentation via gaa.ie/smokefreeclubs

Step 2: Discuss with your Club Executive. The decision to become a smoke & vape free club must be discussed and agreed at management level. Before you sign up, please ensure you have their commitment

Step 3: Sign up HERE before June 20th (the form may close in advance if the quota is met)

Successful clubs must adopt the Smoke & Vape free policy before 31 Dec 2022 and will be required to upload pictures on social media tagging our funding partners (info will be provided).

For further information, please contact Aoife O’Brien, GAA National Healthy Club Coordinator aoife.obrien@gaa.ie

Anyone who is thinking about quitting can get free support from the HSE Quit Team at1800 201 203 or https://www2.hse.ie/quit-smoking/ or Stop Smoking NI in the six counties https://www.stopsmokingni.info/

For more information on the Irish Life GAA Healthy Club project visit https://healthyclubs.gaa.ie/

Not Around Us is an award- winning WHO initiative coordinated by Healthy Limerick https://www.limerick.ie/council/services/community-and-leisure/community-development/not-around-us