Cumbria County Council’s Director of Public Health has leant his backing to a proposal to ban smoking in Trafalgar and Parliament squares in London following the success of Cumbria’s smoke-free playground initiative.
In 2011 the county council’s Health Scrutiny Committee worked with district councils to introduce a voluntary ban on smoking in children’s playgrounds across Cumbria.
The call was made after more than three quarters of local Cumbrian people agreed that children had the right not to be exposed to second-hand smoke. District councils, parish councils and voluntary organisations have since worked to ensure people were discouraged from lighting up.
In a similar move in the capital, the ‘Better Health for London’ report, put together by former health minister and cancer surgeon Lord Ara Darzi, proposes that smoking is banned in the popular squares. Local councils could also pass similar by-laws for their parks and open spaces.
Colin Cox, Director of Public Health, said: “I very much welcome this plan for London. Here in Cumbria we have, for some time now, been on the front foot and imposed a voluntary smoking ban on many children’s play areas and it has worked well in discouraging people to smoke around children. Smoking is a national issue and we’re all aware of the dangers of second-hand smoke.”
County councillor Rod Wilson, Chair of Cumbria’s Health Scrutiny Committee, said: “The county council has made a commitment to reduce smoking levels and tobacco consumption in Cumbria, and increasing the number of smoke-free playgrounds is part of our agenda. It’s about time we started having grown-up debates about smoking in public places, and proposals such as these pave the way for us to be able to do that.”