UK

Smoking Ban Considered For Brighton Beaches

21/07/2015 09:39 BST | Updated 21/07/2015 10:59 BST
Matt King via Getty Images
SYDNEY - MAY 19: A smoker enjoys a cigarette on Bondi Beach May 19, 2004 in Sydney, Australia. Waverley Council has passed a motion to investigate the legalities and enforcement of a smoking ban on the Council's beaches, including Bondi, after Manly Council recently outlawed smoking on beaches, making it the first place in the world outside Los Angeles to do so. Data from Clean Up Australia showed 32 billion cigarette butts were dropped in Australia each year, and that at any given time there were 700,000 on Bondi Beach. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

One of the UK's biggest and most famed seaside resorts could see its beach subject to a new smoking ban, under plans being considered by councillors on Tuesday.

Brighton and Hove City Council is convening a meeting to asses whether it should widen the current smoking ban, which affects pubs, cafes and shopping centres, to outdoor public areas too.

The coastal metropolis already has a voluntary ban on smoking in children's play areas, but now the city's parks and beaches could become smoke-free too - a prospect which angers the smokers' group Forest.

Simon Clark, director of FOREST - Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco - has criticised the proposal, deriding it as "unfounded scaremongering".

"Smokers should smoke responsibly, with consideration for others around them, but extending the smoking ban to open spaces is unnecessary, unjust and another attack on individual freedom," he said.

"There's no evidence that smoking in the open air is a risk to the health of anyone other than the smoker."

no smoking sign

Smoking has been banned in some public places in England since 2007

"Tobacco is legal product. Smokers pay over £10 billion annually in tobacco taxation, a sum that far exceeds the alleged cost of treating smoking-related diseases.

These persistent attacks on people's lifestyle, and the unfounded scaremongering about the risk to others, must stop."

But Deborah Arnott, chief executive of the health charity Ash (Action on Smoking and Health), said the move could be good for the environment as well as health.

"A growing number of local authorities and other organisations are exploring ways of providing more smoke-free public places in response to public demand," she said.

"Football grounds and railway stations are already smoke-free, and increasingly children's play areas are going smoke-free too.

"Smoke-free beaches could provide a safe and pleasant environment, particularly for children, but also for adults who want to avoid exposure to second-hand smoke, as well as reducing the amount of cigarette butt litter on beaches, which doesn't degrade quickly and is harmful to wildlife."

The move is causing quite a stir amongst pro-smokers' freedom campaigners, many of whom see the potential ban as an infringement on civil liberties.

Others were full of praise for the ban, some branding smoking "lung cancer on a stick".

Councillors are meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss and vote on the proposals.

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