Smoking outdoors could soon be banned in Manchester city centre
A number of areas in the city centre are being floated for consideration
Plans to make some areas in the city centre ‘smoke-free’ are currently being considered by bosses at Manchester council, according to reports.
This could mean smokers being asked to either refrain from lighting up in certain areas or to stub out their cigs, as Manchester looks to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Vancouver, New York and Melbourne.
A new pilot project could see certain areas turned into ‘smoke-free’ zones, if it comes into force later this year.
However, as far as The Manc is aware, there are not currently any plans to enforce this with the use of laws or fixed penalty notice fines – as is the case for those currently caught dropping buts on the floor by enforcement officers, with current littering fines reaching up to £100.
Rather, council bosses are believed to favour an educational approach – offering support to help smokers quit, rather than penalising them.
Areas currently being considered to take part in the ‘smoke-free’ pilot include Piccadilly Gardens, St Peter’s Square and the area surrounding Manchester’s Town Hall – all current favourites for office workers nipping out for a quick ciggie on their lunch break.
Elsewhere, developers at the new city centre park next to Mayfield are also said to be considering introducing similar policies as they look to install a new ‘green lung’ in the city centre as part of a rewilding project.
The Etihad Stadium is also being touted for inclusion in the pilot, with Greater Manchester set to receive as much as £79,000 in funds from the Partnership for Healthy Cities, which is supported by the World Health Organization, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Vital Strategies
At the time of writing, the Mayfield park is the only part of the city seriously being considered right now according to Andrea Crossfield, the Making Smoking History Lead for the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership.
Speaking on the potential plans, which could come into force later this year if approved, Salford mayor Paul Dennett, chair of the Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership Board, said: “People living in Greater Manchester have a lower life expectancy than those living in other parts of the country, and we must take action to reduce preventable illnesses and the role they play in our considerable health inequalities.
“When we look at smoking, which is the leading cause of preventable illnesses, we have some of the highest smoking rates in the country, and it has a significant impact on our people’s health and wellbeing.
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“Smoke-free spaces not only promote healthy behaviours to children and young people, but they also encourage smokers to quit and make it easier for ex-smokers to stay smoke-free.
“Through the Partnership for Healthy Cities network we will boost our efforts in making smoking history to ensure longer, healthier lives for our residents.”
Manchester councillor Thomas Robinson, who is the executive member for Healthy Manchester and Adult Social Care, added: “We are committed to tackling the harms caused by tobacco and want to see healthier, smoke-free spaces that everyone can enjoy, which is why we are pleased to be working with partners on this project to extend smoke-free spaces in the city.
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“By making smoking less visible in certain outdoor spaces not only are we preventing children from inhaling secondhand smoke, but we are promoting healthy behaviours and setting a good example to children and young people who tend to copy adults’ behaviour.
“The more spaces we can make smoke-free, the less likely children are to take up smoking – preventing them from getting hooked on a deadly addiction.
“The reality is that smoking has a devastating impact on our communities, with two in three long-term smokers dying prematurely from their addiction and we need to embrace initiatives such as this to tackle this public health challenge.”
Feature image – Wikimedia Commons