Brighton and Hove could become one of the first places in the UK to ban smoking in its parks and on its beaches.
It’s hoped a ban would help drive down the rate of smoking in Brighton and Hove, which at 25.2% is significantly higher than the national average of 18%.
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 US states 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 and Hove as to whether we wish the same here.”
The plans are due to go before the city council’s health and wellbeing board next Tuesday, 21 July. If agreed, the consultation will run from the 22 July for 12 weeks.
The move follows calls from the chair of London Health Commission Lord Darzi to ban smoking in the capital’s parks and squares last October, which he repeated in a BMJ article in February this year.
In February, Bristol became the first local authority to put this into action, with a voluntary ban on smoking in two of its public squares. But although other authorities have also put plans forward, some such as Manchester have ruled it out as being unenforceable.