More councils in England ban smoking outside pubs, cafes and restaurants

3 June 2021, 09:47

More local authorities are introducing smoking bans outside hospitality venues
More local authorities are introducing smoking bans outside hospitality venues. Picture: Getty

By Daisy Stephens

Five more councils in England have announced a ban on smoking outside pubs, cafes and restaurants, as part of efforts to make the country smoke free by 2030.

Northumberland and Durham County Councils, Newcastle City Council, North Tyneside Council and the City of Manchester have all banned smoking where hospitality venues are licensed to put tables outside.

A sixth council, Gateshead, also has a similar condition attached to its licences for pavement dining, although it does not have an official policy.

It has been illegal to smoke inside any enclosed public space, including hospitality venues, in England since 2007.

However the surge in outdoor dining as a result of Covid-19 has shed new light on the issue of smoking directly outside them.

The revelations come after Oxfordshire County Council announced plans to completely ban smoking outside restaurant and offices by 2025, in an attempt to become England’s first ‘smoke-free’ county.

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The council will work with the NHS and other local authorities to reduce smoking among adults to less than five per cent by 2025, among workers to below 10 per cent, and among pregnant women to below four per cent.

“It is not about telling people not to smoke,” said Oxfordshire’s public health director Ansaf Azhar.

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

The plans are part of a Government ambition for England to go smoke-free by 2030, which in practice means less than five per cent of adults smoking.

Smoking rates have halved over the last 15 years, but the Government has acknowledged that the 2030 target is “extremely challenging”.

A report from Cancer Research UK in February 2020 estimated that the pace of change needs to be up to 40 per cent faster in order for the target to be reached by 2030, something that it is hoped outdoor smoking bans may contribute to.