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.
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."
"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.
They want to ban smoking on Brighton beach. Ban fat people taking their clothes off. Ban flip flops on ugly feet.— Sarah Godfrey (@sarahjgodfrey55) July 21, 2015
So they want to try and ban smoking on Brighton beaches??? How long before they ban smoking all together.— Cliff Perkins (@cliffyperkins) July 21, 2015
#Brighton wanting to ban smoking on the beach, how pathetic! It's an open area.. Why should someone go without something they like doing?!— Josh August (@AugustJosh1) July 21, 2015
Smoking ban on the beach ...You're taking the piss now ...Fuck right off— chris clark (@ChrisangClark) July 21, 2015
@GMB ban smoking on Brighton beach?
They should ban pretentious,bohemian bellends from the beach.
It'd be empty then pic.twitter.com/pFOPU3d6d4— Dulan Packer (@matts_musings) July 21, 2015
Others were full of praise for the ban, some branding smoking "lung cancer on a stick".
Brighton Beach Smoking Ban? Hell yeah! #BrightonBeachSmokingBan— Harry Barnes (@HarryBarnes) July 21, 2015
@BBCNaga smoking ban on the beach? Yes please. I hate the smell which wafts when I'm trying to relax— Si Lincoln (@saintlincoln) July 21, 2015
@GMB I agree with the smoking ban on the beach, I'm asthmatic and people smoking affects my chest even when outdoors— Vicki Newman (@vickimariaaa) July 21, 2015
@JayneSeckerSky ban it period heck it's lung cancer on a stick being sold to drug addicts. Like alcohol if came out tomorrow instant ban— Fully (@DavidFullstone) July 21, 2015
Councillors are meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss and vote on the proposals.
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