Should smoking be banned outside pubs and cafes?
In a bid to make England smoke free by 2030 five local authorities have banned smoking on pavements outside pubs, cafes and restaurants.
The City of Manchester, Northumberland, Newcastle, North Tyneside and Durham have all banned smoking at venues where outside seating is available, and in Gateshead, although no high-level policies have been set, all bars and restaurants with pavement licences must be smoke-free.
Oxfordshire is also considering the move as part of its plans to become the first smoke-free county by 2025, five years ahead of the national target.
Simon Clark, director of the pro-smoking group, Forest (the Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco) has hit back at the local authorities:
“It’s no business of local councils if adults choose to smoke, and if they smoke outside during working hours that’s a matter for them and their employer, not the council.
After Covid, local authorities will have far more important things to do than tackle smoking … Reducing smoking rates to meet some idealistic target is not a priority for most people, and council policy should reflect that.”
However. Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Ash (Action on Smoking and Health), said most customers supported the idea of a pavement ban. “Our surveys show that two-thirds of the public want areas outside pubs and cafes to be smoke-free,” she said.
England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, at a lecture on public health last month, said smoking was still a major cause of mortality and hospitalisation, and warned that the impact of tobacco was worse than Covid-19.
“It is likely that by the end of this year that at least as many and probably more people will have died from smoking-related disease than from Covid,” he said.
“Lung cancer is now the UK’s number one killer in cancer. Almost one in five people will die from this.”
Smoking rates are in decline across the UK, with analysis suggesting more than a million people have quit smoking throughout the pandemic.
Generally tobacco is estimated to kill 90,000 people a year in the UK.
Do you enjoy smoking in a pub garden or at a restaurant with outside seating? Are smokers being unfairly picked on? Or does smoking bother you when you are eating or drinking outside? Do you agree with these new policies?
What are your views?
We'd love to hear your comments
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