Call for outdoor public smoking ban

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Bars, restaurants and other indoor public places are now smoke-free – but the smoking ban doesn't go far enough, according to a new report.

The Royal Society for Public Health wants to see smoking banned in outdoor areas where people gather such as beer gardens, parks, and school gates.

The society believes that smoking should be seen as "abnormal" and say that an extended ban would help prevent people taking up the habit.

Shirley Cramer, the body's chief executive, explained: "Children are hugely receptive to the behaviour of the adults around them. The sight therefore of individuals smoking at prominent locations risks teaching them that smoking is a normal and safe habit.

"We believe that banning smoking in these locations via an exclusion zone could further denormalise smoking, ensuring that it is seen as an abnormal activity and potentially, prevent children and young people from beginning in the future."

The current smoking ban has been hailed as a great success, and has encouraged thousands of people to quit. A separate report by the University of Edinburgh found that around 1,500 stillbirths were prevented in the first four years of the ban.

Simon Clark, director of the pro-smoking campaign group Forest, said he welcomed ideas that encouraged people to use electronic cigarettes but they should not rely on "coercion and prohibition".

He told the BBC: "Banning smoking outside pubs and bars will discriminate against adults who quite legitimately prefer to smoke.

"It won't stop people smoking, it will simply deter more people from going to the pub and that could lead to even more pub closures."

What do you think? Should the ban be extended? Leave a comment below...

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