British prisons and cities consider extending smoking bans

TWO possible extensions to smoking bans in the UK are causing some concern but have in general been welcomed. The government is currently working on plans which would introduce smoke-free prisons in England and Wales in 2016, while Brighton is considering a public spaces smoking ban for parks and beaches.
Regarding the prison move, the Prison Governors Association (PGA) has welcomed the plans but says changes must be introduced in stages in order to avoid instability. Speaking to the BBC, the head of the PGA, Andrea Albutt, said potential problems included turning tobacco into an illicit “currency” within jails. At present, smoking is only allowed in prison cells and exercise yards.
Scotland is also looking to further restrict smoking in jails, although Northern Ireland has said it has no such plans.
In Brighton, the council argues the voluntary ban in all of its 42 children’s playgrounds has been readily accepted. The authority says that it is concern for children that is motivating their thoughts on extending the ban to all parks and beaches.
Councillor Daniel Yates, chair of Brighton and Hove’s Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “The health benefits of smoke free areas and protecting children from second-hand smoke are well established. We’re keen to keep people safe from the effects of smoking in public areas, especially children who are most vulnerable.
“However, we also want to ensure any measures taken have support of residents in the city.“
The city is to open consultation on the move from Wednesday July 22.
Meanwhile in Bristol, trials have been running in several city squares with voluntary bans on smoking in public spaces, where smokers are currently politely asked to consider taking their cigarettes elsewhere.

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