The content of this website is intended for healthcare professionals only

Call for pub garden smoking ban

Public health experts call for bans outside pubs, restaurants and school gates

Mark Gould

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Smoking bans should be extended to beer gardens, al fresco eating areas of restaurants, parks, and outside school gates and outside pubs and bars, as part of concerted moves to make smoking seem "abnormal", the Royal Society for Public Health says.

In a new position paper, 'Smoking cessation: taking a harm reduction approach', the Society also says that "public confusion" over nicotine needs to be addressed as a way of encouraging smokers to use safer forms of the substance. A RSPH commissioned poll of 2,072 British adults for the report reveals that 90% still regard nicotine itself as harmful and the organisation is now calling for measures to promote safer forms of nicotine products to smokers and make it harder to use tobacco.

Its report says people needing a fix of nicotine should be encouraged to use e-cigarettes which it says should be exempt from any ban on smoking in outdoor public places. But it wants e-cigarettes to be rebranded as "nicotine sticks" or "vapourisers" to distance them from cigarettes.

It also calls for the mandatory sale of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) in shops selling cigarettes. In one study it says fewer than 0.5% of retailers sold NRT in spite of surveys which reveal that almost three quarters of the public (70%) support mandatory sales of such products.

All shops selling tobacco products should be licensed so that Local Authorities can remove the license of any retailers found not to be acting in accordance with tobacco legislation, such as age restrictions and the display ban.

The Society's chief executive Shirley Cramer said: “Over 100,000 people die from smoking-related disease every year in the UK. While we have made good progress to reduce smoking rates, one in five of us still does. Most people smoke through habit and to get their nicotine hit. Clearly we would rather people didn’t smoke, but in line with NICE guidance on reducing the harm from tobacco, using safer forms of nicotine such as NRT and e-cigarettes are effective in helping people quit.

"Getting people onto nicotine rather than using tobacco would make a big difference to the public’s health – clearly there are issues in terms of having smokers addicted to nicotine, but this would move us on from having a serious and costly public health issue from smoking-related disease to instead address the issue of addiction to a substance which in and of itself is not too dissimilar to caffeine addiction.”

Registered in England and Wales. Reg No. 2530185. c/o Wilmington plc, 5th Floor, 10 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 8QS. Reg No. 30158470