Parks should be ‘no smoking zones’

Smoking should be banned in all parks and playgrounds to reduce the chances of children growing up thinking that using cigarettes is normal, environmental health officers have urged.

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has commissioned a YouGov survey which revealed 89 per cent of adults would support a smoking ban in children’s play areas and 57 per cent would support a smoking ban in public parks.

Smoking was prohibited in all enclosed and virtually enclosed work and public places throughout the UK in 2007, and the CIEH is arguing the same laws should apply to open spaces. This, the group suggests, would reduce the perception among young people that smoking is normal behaviour.

Some councils have already attempted to stop people smoking in some outdoor places, with Coventry City Council requesting parents not to smoke outside the gates of its 82 primary schools.

Elsewhere, Nottingham City Council has ensured that all of its outdoor attractions are smoke-free for the six weeks of the school summer holidays.

Anne Godfrey, CIEH chief executive, said: “It is abundantly clear that the vast majority of people would support restrictions on smoking in children’s play areas.

“We would like to see smoking being stubbed out wherever children play or learn. This would not only include children’s playgrounds but could see no smoking zones extended to public parks, zoos and theme parks. Children should be able to have fun and enjoy themselves without seeing someone smoking and thinking this is normal behaviour.”