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Forest urges Brighton council to reject outdoor smoking bans

Wed 14th October, 2015

Forest has slammed proposals to extend the smoking ban to outdoor areas including beaches, parks and 'historic' squares.

Responding to the Brighton and Hove Council consultation on smoke free areas, the smokers' group Forest said it was strongly opposed to prohibiting smoking outside.

There is no evidence, said the group, that smoking outside is a health risk to anyone other than the smoker and the inconvenience to non-smokers is minimal.

'Despite this some campaigners are determined to ban smoking in the open air. Why? What possible benefit will it have for non-smokers apart from encouraging a handful of zealous anti-smokers to feel even more smug and sanctimonious than they already do?'

The indoor smoking ban, the group added, had put many pubs out of business.

'Imagine the impact if pubs, clubs and bars (and even cafes and restaurants) were now denied the opportunity to offer their customers a smoking area outside. At a time when many small businesses are just recovering from a long-term recession, this is exactly the type of unnecessary regulation they don’t need.'

Extending the smoking ban to outdoor areas would destroy Brighton's liberal 'bohemian' image, said Forest:

'Not everyone visits the city for the candy floss and the ‘Kiss Me Quick’ hats. Many of us visit Brighton, or used to, because we enjoyed the feeling that here was a city that embraced a diverse range of lifestyles and didn’t judge people.

'Ban smoking in outdoor public spaces and Brighton will destroy any lingering link it has to its proud bohemian tradition. Instead it will be seen as one of the most puritanical cities in the UK, a model for nanny statists the length and breadth of the country. Is that how councillors want Brighton to be seen?'

Simon Clark, director of Forest, said:

"Smokers don’t need to be told how to behave around other people. The overwhelming majority of smokers know it can be annoying to some non-smokers if they smoke in their immediate presence. Usually they’ll step a few feet away where they’re no trouble to anyone, not even the most ardent anti-smoker.

"Each and every day we make decisions about our behaviour. Smoking is generally a matter of civility. Most people are civil to one another and they don’t need legislation or even ‘voluntary bans’ dictating to the nth degree how they behave in public spaces."

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