Calls for smoking to be banned outside pubs, clubs and schools

Councillor Clive Furness, Newham mayoral advisor for adults and health, said there was "still a lot

Councillor Clive Furness, Newham mayoral advisor for adults and health, said there was "still a lot to do" to tackle smoking in the borough - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Calls for smoking to be banned outside pubs, bars and schools have been made.

The Royal Society for Public Health wants measure to be introduced to encourage smokers to use e-cigarettes and other “safer” forms of nicotine.

In its report Stopping smoking by using other sources of nicotine, the charity said its research showed banning smoking outside pubs and bars would make around a third of smokers more likely to use alternatives such as e-cigarettes or nicotine replacement therapy.

Shirley Cramer CBE, chief executive of RSPH, 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.

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“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.”

The calls have led to mixed reactions from residents in Havering.

On social media site Streetlife, commenters have clashed over whether smoking should be banned at school gates.

Sylvia A said: “Yes, it should be banned, If tobacco was discovered today I would think it would be banned immediately.

“I feel that if people want to kill themselves they should do it in the privacy of their own homes and certainly not expect doctors to treat them if they become ill.”

But Chris H said he became a social smoker after the indoor smoking ban was introduced in 2007.

He said: “I’m 36 yrs old and have been lucky enough to have a good social life since I was 17, out in Romford a few nights a week. I have been a social smoker for about 6 years.

“Was never bothered about smoking, never wanted to, after the indoor smoking ban I started to find the smoking areas of pubs/clubs the most sociable areas, so I’d spend more time outside.

“As the years went on I started having the odd fag. Nowadays I can’t go out without stopping at the shop and buying a pack.”

Others questioned how easy it would be to enforce the ban.