Smoking is the primary cause of premature death and preventable illness in the UK, accounting for almost 100,000 deaths a year. In light of research continuously conducted, Brighton beach could be the first in the country to issue a ‘no smoking’ ban, igniting many other British resorts to follow suit.
A national smoking ban was implemented in workplaces and public space in July 2007 and in October this year, tobacco smoking in cars will also be outlawed to avoid children inhaling second-hand smoke.
The majority of people in the area are in favour of a smoking ban with 48% claiming they thought by stopping people lighting up a cigarette, it would make the traditional seaside towns of Britain more attractive to visit and have an increase in tourists across peak times of the year. One in five (19%) also claimed they would travel out of their way to visit a no-smoking beach.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has said the ban would be good to 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 demands…smoke-free beaches could provide a safe and pleasant environment, particularly for children…as well as reducing the amount of cigarette butt litter on beaches which doesn’t degrade quickly and is harmful to wildlife’.
The proposal to introduce the ban has caused quite a stir with many smokers claiming their autonomy and freedom to do as they choose is being stripped. Just under a third (31%) of the 2000 adults polled said they felt Brighton and Hove City Council’s proposals have been taken a step too far and one in ten (9%) said the ban would speed the decline of visitors as it would discourage smokers from visiting and going elsewhere. In conjunction with those who see the plans as a little too forward, Pharmacy2U Online Doctor Service, found in a nationwide survey that people worry more about the way a beach looks (42%) rather than the possibility of second-hand smoke (17%).
Medical director Dr. Nitin Shori was quoted:
‘There does appear to be public support for smoking bans on Britain’s beaches – although more people say they are concerned about sunburn, litter, rowdy behaviour and how they look on the beach, than breathing in second-hand cigarette smoke’.
In light of the proposals, 60% of those surveyed said they would also like to see smoking banned in playgrounds, of which 45% said they did not want to see it in indoor restaurants and more than a third (36%) are in favour of a ban in public parks.
Brighton and Hove City Council has begun a 12 week public consultation to ascertain people’s reaction of the proposals.