14 July 2015

Smoke Free Zones

Residents could soon be consulted about whether the city’s parks and beaches should be smoke free areas. Later this month the Health and Wellbeing Board will be asked to approve a consultation asking whether people support the move for extending smoke free areas in Brighton & Hove.

The emphasis is on creating an environment free from second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke is particularly dangerous for children. Children exposed to passive smoke are at higher risk of respiratory infections, asthma, bacterial meningitis and cot death. Second-hand smoke has been linked to around 165,000 new cases of disease among children in the UK each year.

A voluntary smoking ban already exists in all 42 of the city’s children’s playgrounds, which is already accepted by park goers. The proposed consultation is to gauge whether there is wider public support for extending the smoke free areas across the city.

At the next meeting on 21 July, the Health and Wellbeing board will consider a report looking at the benefits of establishing more smoke free public areas. If agreed, the consultation will run from the 22nd July for 12 weeks.

Despite many residents giving up smoking or not taking it up in the first place, smoking is still one of the city’s leading causes of premature death and health inequalities. According to the 2013 Household survey, smoking in Brighton & Hove is 25.2 per cent, which is above the England average of about 18 per cent. 

Cllr Daniel Yates, chair of Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “The health benefits of smoke free areas and protecting children from second-hand smoke are well established. We’re keen to keep people safe from the effects of smoking in public areas, especially children who are most vulnerable. However we also want to ensure any measures taken have support of residents in the city. The report is a welcome addition to the meeting agenda.”

The areas being proposed to become smoke free, following consultation, are locations where children are most likely to be present, especially during school holidays at times when the parks and beaches are busiest.

Dr Tom Scanlon, Director of Public Health, said: “Tobacco smoke typically contains over 170 toxins including carcinogens and air pollutants. The benefits of smoke-free indoor areas are well established and accepted. Outdoor tobacco smoke dissipates more quickly than indoor smoke, but in certain concentrations and weather conditions it still poses an additional health risk to non-smokers. Several States in the US have adopted legislation to limit outdoor smoking in certain settings such as cafés, parks and places where there are children playing.  The time is right to have the debate in Brighton & Hove as to whether we wish the same here.”

The consultation can be found here