Proposals to ban smoking in Brighton and Hove’s beaches have been scrapped, after 72.7 per cent of residents who responded to a consultation strongly opposed the idea.
The plans, proposed in July, prompted Herald readers to discuss whether a potential ban could lead to Worthing and Adur district councils to adopt the policy.
While there was some support for the plan, most residents argued banning smoking on the beach would be ‘unenforceable’.
Brighton and Hove City Council commissioned a survey to see if it should extend its smoke-free areas in the city to beaches, parks, and open spaces.
Although the survey showed those who responded were overwhelmingly opposed to banning smoking on beaches, the majority - both smokers and non-smokers - agreed that entrances to play parks (58.6%), schools (63.8%), and children’s centres (64.3%) should become smoke-free.
As a result of the consultation, Brighton and Hove City Council’s health and wellbeing board, will consider supporting the extension of smoke-free areas outside schools, play parks and children’s centres, but dropped the idea for beaches and parks.
Campaigners welcomed the news that Brighton and Hove Council has dropped plans to ban smoking on beaches and in parks.
Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ group Forest which urged the council to reject proposals to ban smoking in outdoor public places, said: “We’re delighted the council has taken this decision. There is no justification for banning smoking in the open air. Hopefully this will send a strong message to other councils considering similar policies.”
“Banning smoking in outdoor public spaces is not only a step too far, it’s also very unpopular with the general public.”
Public health officials could also be asked to work with restaurants and pubs to encourage smoke-free outdoor areas on a voluntary basis.
Cllr Daniel Yates, chair of the health and wellbeing board, said: “I believe the measures that are being suggested are a common-sense approach and an appropriate reflection of the views of our residents and visitors. We’re delighted with the level of response to this consultation.”
Speaking in July, Joss Loader, chairman of Shoreham Beach Residents’ Association, said there were no plans for Adur District Council to adopt the policy.
“We’re not aware of any proposals locally to promote a smoking ban on the beach, which is a Local Nature Reserve and home to many rare plants and species,” she said.
“As long as smokers stub out cigarettes safely, put litter in bins and don’t blow their smoke near children or other beach users, most people are pretty live and let live’ if they’re in the open air.
“Speaking personally, I think the indoor smoking ban was a great piece of legislation but it would be much harder to enforce outside. The health benefits would be far harder to prove as well.”
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