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Oxfordshire set to become first 'smoke-free' county in England
2 June 2021, 06:47 | Updated: 2 June 2021, 07:07
Oxfordshire is set to become the first county to go ‘smoke-free’, with plans to ban smoking outside restaurants and offices to be put in place by 2025.
A date for the proposed ban was not confirmed, but it will be enforced following the end of the government's roadmap out of lockdown.
Oxfordshire County Council hopes to reduce smoking among adults to below five per cent by 2025.
Other targets include reducing smoking among workers to below 10 per cent and cutting the number of pregnant women smoking at the time of delivery to below four per cent.
The council will be collaborating with the NHS and local authorities to reach these targets, having signed the Local Government Declaration on Tobacco and the NHS Smokefree Pledge in 2020.
Today on World No-Tobacco Day 2021, the Oxon Tobacco Control Alliance are celebrating one year on, the launch of Oxfordshire’s Smokefree Strategy – to be smokefree by 2025!— Oxfordshire County Council (@OxfordshireCC) May 31, 2021
Read more about how we’re going to do it here: https://t.co/lgpUhNcGzM#smokefreeoxon #WNTD2021 pic.twitter.com/N8JkMt54E5
Oxfordshire's public health director, Ansaf Azhar, previously described the new strategy as a “long game” to combat smoking culture.
He told the county's health improvement partnership board: “It is not about telling people not to smoke.
“It is about moving and creating an environment in which not smoking is encouraged and they are empowered to do so.
“But that is not going to happen overnight.”
The public health official leading the strategy, Dr Adam Briggs, 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."
The local authority also plans to crackdown on illicit tobacco being sold at cheaper prices, which undermines "the effectiveness of taxation" and makes it "harder for smokers to quit".
Campaigns will be introduced to raise public awareness and increase the number of people that share intelligence on the matter.