The Manifesto Club report Smoked Out charts the rise of smoking bans in outdoor public spaces across the UK.
First in children’s playgrounds, smoking bans have now spread to hospital sites, the gardens of closed mental health institutions, and are moving into squares, parks, beaches and areas outside pubs and restaurants. Brighton and Swansea councils recently launched plans for large ‘smokefree’ zones that included all social outdoor public spaces.
The report argues that outdoor bans are unnecessary and illiberal, and are driven by officials in councils rather than responding to public demand.
Report author Dolan Cummings says:
There is absolutely no need for bans on outdoor smoking, especially in open windswept areas such as Brighton beach. Where problems arise, these can be dealt with through measures such as the provision of ashtrays and smoking areas, or through a mutual sensitivity between smokers and non-smokers. Smokers are being pushed and blackmailed out of public spaces, and there is no good reason for this. An accommodation can be reached.
The report is published in collaboration with the smokers’ rights group Forest. Forest director Simon Clark says:
Tobacco is a legal product. Ten million adults must be allowed to light up in outdoor public places without harassment or worse. Smoking is generally a matter of civility. Most people are civil to one another and they don’t need legislation or even voluntary bans dictating how they behave in public spaces. Tolerance, common sense and good manners must be allowed prevail without more rules and regulations designed to control people’s behaviour beyond what is fair and reasonable.
Launch event: The report will be launched on 21 October in central London. See event details. Hard copies of the report will be available at the launch.