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English County Becomes The First To Ban Outdoor Smoking

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English County Becomes The First To Ban Outdoor Smoking

A county in England is hoping to become cigarette smoke-free by 2025, having now taken the initial steps to ban smoking in outdoor spaces.

Oxfordshire is set to ban smoking outside bars and restaurants - as well as outside office workplaces.

The plan was agreed by public health officials before the pandemic began in February last year, and is now being implemented as lockdown begins to ease.

Smoking in outdoor public spaces could be made illegal (Credit: Unsplash)
Smoking in outdoor public spaces could be made illegal (Credit: Unsplash)
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A crackdown on smoking in will begin in earnest as lockdown ends, with outdoor dining areas and workplace cigarette break spots as the top targets to go smoke-free.

The priorities for the county's smoking strategy this year include creating more spaces where people feel 'empowered' not to smoke.

This would include encouraging employers to stop the habit outside offices and factories, or by creating smoke-free areas in newly created pavement dining areas.

Oxfordshire's public health director, Ansaf Azhar, said that he hoped the changes in smoking culture could see the county become entirely smoke free by 2025.

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Outdoor restaurants in Oxfordshire will look to ban smoking (Credit: Unsplash)
Outdoor restaurants in Oxfordshire will look to ban smoking (Credit: Unsplash)

Smoke-free is officially recognised by the Government as when five per cent of the population or less are smokers.

"It is not about telling people not to smoke," he said.

"It is about moving and creating an environment in which not smoking is encouraged and they are empowered to do so.

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"But that is not going to happen overnight."

Dr Adam Briggs, the public health official leading the strategy, added: "We have got a condition that is entirely a commercially driven cause of death and disease.

"It is impossible to be on the wrong side of history with tobacco consumption."

Smoking outside at bars may also become bad (Credit: Unsplash)
Smoking outside at bars may also become bad (Credit: Unsplash)
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He also referred to figures given by the chief medical officer Chris Whitty at a recent conference, who said more than 90,000 people died from tobacco related diseases in 2020, compared with 75,000 from Covid.

A report by Dr Briggs said smoking was the leading cause of preventable deaths in Oxfordshire, costing £120m to the public purse each year.

It was hoped that all new pavement licenses, which allows restaurants and bars to place tables and chairs outside their premises, smoke free in Oxfordshire.

While the council originally denied this request, saying that the easing of coronavirus restrictions was not the time to impose more rules on businesses, Dr Briggs has urged the board to continue making these requests in the future.

Featured Image Credit: Unsplash

Topics: UK News, Life News, Fitness, Health

Kimberley Bond
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