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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

More places in Nottingham city to become non-smoking areas

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Smokers could be banned from lighting up in more areas of the city under new plans by the city council.

Already, there are bans on smoking outside school gates and on playgrounds, and at certain events such as the Beach, children’s areas at Splendour and Riverside festivals, and the British Triathlon.

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The Labour-run Nottingham City Council hopes the bans will help prevent smoking becoming normalised, and will reduce children’s exposure to smoking and the chances of them becoming smokers themselves.

Smoking rates are currently higher in the city than many other places in the East Midlands.

Nationally, an average of 14.9 percent of adults smoke. In Nottingham, Public Health England estimates 19.4 of adults are smokers, while in Derby the figure is 18.9 percent and in the figure for Leicester is 17.7 percent.

The council said it does not have a list of specific places it wants to make smoke-free zones.

Instead, it hopes to introduce them “where the public wants them” and said it has a “non-confrontational approach” to enforcement.

But there was controversy last year when the council proposed banning smoking at bus stops in the city.

Some residents were supportive of the idea, but pro-smoking group Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco (Forest) called it “unnecessary”.

The proposal about the bus stop ban was made in July, but the necessary consultation has not yet been started.

A council report on the issue said: “Nottingham has a long-term vision to inspire a smoke-free generation.

“Agreeing a long-term plan to extend smoke-free outdoor public spaces will allow us to take a more consistent approach that will be clearer, easier to communicate and more effective.

“Smoke-free outdoor public places have a significant role to play in normalising smoke-free environments and showing our young people that smoking is the exception rather than the rule.

“The aim of smoke-free outdoor public spaces is to reduce children’s exposure to smoking and the chances of them becoming smokers themselves.

“The trend toward smoke-free outdoor areas is well established and growing both within the UK and further afield. It extends to many different kinds of outdoor areas from parks and city squares to outdoor eating areas and entrances to public buildings.”

Alison Challenger, director of public health at the city council, said: “We know that one of the key drivers in tackling high smoking prevalence rates in Nottingham is to continue to de-normalise it for our children.

“A large part of the problem is the generational cycles of smoking that we see, and that has to change if we are to inspire a smoke-free generation to emerge.

“To tackle that specifically we’ve been working with local sports clubs and other councils to encourage parents not to smoke on the touchline while watching their children play. We’ve also re-emphasised our ‘smoke-free school gates’ messages to Nottingham primaries and targeted those who are yet to sign up. In time, we’d like to extend this scheme to secondary schools.

“As well as being one of the first local authorities in England to make playgrounds and school gates smoke-free in 2010, we followed this up in 2015 with the first of our Smokefree Summer campaigns. Many major Nottingham events including Splendour and the Beach now incorporate no-smoking areas.”

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