Smoke-free zones gather pace in parks but blanket bans seem unlikely

Councils weighing up the issue of smoking in parks have baulked at following the example of many US states that have outlawed cigarettes as well as e-cigarettes.

Several parks teams that pioneered smoking bans in British open spaces have said they will not extend the bans. Frisco in Texas was recently the latest US council to vote to outlaw smoking of "all materials", including e-cigarettes, in public parks.

London's Hackney Council has said one Clissold Park will become one of the first in the country to introduce smoke-free zones in all areas used by children - not just play areas. But it will not extend the ban to e-cigarettes in parks.

Blackpool Borough Council, which put up smoke-free signs in 13 parks and open spaces three years ago, said it has no plans for a blanket ban on all tobacco products. A representative pointed out: "The ban did not make smoking illegal but advised against lighting up in parks."

Newport City Council in Wales, which announced plans this January to ban smoking in 60 park playgrounds, said enforcement will have to be by self-regulation, not through fixed-penalty notices.

Parks consultant Sid Sullivan said: "A few years ago some park providers were clamouring to ban smoking, then reality quickly kicked in - the cost of enforcement pretty much extinguished that campaign.

"We have far more urgent spending needs that can show greater health benefits, such as increasing opportunities for exercise."


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