Oxfordshire plans to become to first 'smoke-free' county in England
1 June 2021, 14:47
Oxfordshire plans to crack down on smoking in places like pubs gardens and workplaces.
Oxfordshire has laid out plans to become the first 'smoke-free' county in England.
As reported by the Mail Online, the county will move to ban smoking in public outdoor spaces, such as pub gardens and office smoking areas, starting from the end of this month.
The new measures, which will also include the creation of outdoor spaces where people will feel 'empowered' not to smoke, are part of plans to get the country 'smoke-free' by 2025.
Employers will be encouraged to stop workers from smoking outside offices, and smoke-free areas will be created in outside areas of pubs and restaurants.
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According to plans, 'smoke-free' environments will be created in homes, cars, play parks and school gates - though it is as yet unclear how the rules will be enforced by Oxfordshire County Council.
Oxfordshire's public health director, Ansaf Azhar last week described the strategy as a "long game" to change the culture around smoking and prevent deaths from smoking-related diseases.
He said, according to The Sun: "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 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."
A pro-smoking campaign group namedThe Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco (Forest) has criticised the plans.
Simon Clark, director of the smokers' lobby group Forest, 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."
Smoke-free is recognised by the Government as when five per cent of the population or less are smokers.