The UK will soon become a little less smoke-friendly as it plans to ban outdoor smoking for the first time ever in the county of Oxfordshire in an attempt at completely eliminating all smoking in that region by 2025.
Empowering smokers to quit
Public health officials last year got together to discuss a plan to create more public environments that would allow people to feel more empowered not to smoke. As a result, a councillor has asked Cherwell District Council to prohibit all new pavement licenses—that which allows bars and restaurants to have an outdoor seating area— from permitting patrons to smoke.
In addition, the proposal also aims to encourage employers to ban employees from smoking outside offices and factories as well as creating new smoke-free areas in pavement dining spaces.
Looking to eradicate smoking culture so as to diminish mortality rates linked to the addiction, Oxfordshire's Public Health Director Ansaf Azhar said:
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.
Dr. Adam Briggs, the public health official responsible for leading the strategy, explains that:
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.
But not everyone is took pleased with the initiative. The Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco (Forest), a pro smoking group in the UK, has said that councils should not be meddling with people's right to smoke publicly.
Simon Clark, who is Director of the lobby group, said:
It's no business of local councils if adults choose to smoke, and if they smoke outside during working hours that's a matter for them and their employer not the council.