A review of smoking in the UK has called for smokers to be banned from beer gardens, cafe pavements, and even public beaches in a bid to make Britain ‘ smoke-free’ by 2030.
As ministers seek to cut the number of smokers in the country to 5% in the next eight years, a plan commissioned by the government has suggested barring smokers from beer gardens could go some way to encouraging people to stop altogether.
Smoking has been banned indoors in pubs and cafes since legislation was brought in in 2007, but now the government has announced it wants to kick things up a notch again following a torrid political week.
It’s questionable how well the recommendation would be received by publicans in an already struggling hospitality industry, where for many customers smoking and drinking go hand in hand.
Figures obtained by the smokers’ group Forest show there are 11,383 fewer pubs in England compared to 2006, a decline of 20.7% since the smoking ban was first introduced.
Current figures suggest that there are around six million smokers living in the UK today – around 13.5% of the population.
The ‘smoke free’ review, set out by Dr Javed Khan, has set out a total of 15 recommendations for action – including the bizarre suggestion to increase the legal smoking age year on year until it is so high that the entire population is effectively barred, described as a “must do” in the paper.
Other suggestions for action include promoting vaping as an “effective tool to help people to quit smoking tobacco”, and investing an extra £70 million per year in stop-smoking services.
It has also been suggested that a tax on tobacco firms could be levied to help pay for the investment in stop-smoking services that is needed, with the review stressing that an extra £125million is needed per year to fund the support that smokers would need in order to quit.
The review stresses that any premises selling food and drink should ban smoking, with a suggestion that the ban should be extended beyond the doors of the premises onto the streets outside cafes, restaurants and pubs.
It goes further, adding that smoking should be banned “in all outdoor areas where children are present”.
Speaking on the review, England’s chief medical officer Professor Sir Chris Whitty said: “The cigarette industry lobbyists will try to make this a debate between health and freedom. It is the most dishonest debate you can possibly imagine.
“The majority of people who are smokers wish to quit, but cannot because the cigarette industry has addicted them at a very young age. They cannot. That is not freedom of choice.
“If you’re in favour of freedom, you absolutely are not in favour of this addictive industry that kills so many people.”
Dr Khan added in his paper: “If we do nothing different, smoking will cause over half a million more deaths by 2030. Even if we reached the target of 5% by then, we would still have two million smokers, two-thirds of whom will die from smoking unless they quit
“To truly achieve a smoke-free society in this great country of ours, smoking should be obsolete. The Government now has the opportunity to make our country a place where cigarettes disappear from our shops. To make this a country where the tobacco industry won’t want to trade”
Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ group Forest, has said that: “creeping prohibition won’t stop young adults smoking” and that tobacco sales will simply be driven underground by harsher legislation.
Rio Ferdinand is helping change young lives with community programmes in Oldham and Salford
Ex-Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand and his foundation’s wonderful work is helping better the lives of young people in Oldham, Salford and across Manchester as a whole.
Over the past year, the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and The Guinness Partnership have been putting together a vital social initiative aimed at providing opportunities and resources to young people across Greater Manchester, helping them develop their skills and aspirations for future working life.
Now, after a hugely successful 12-month campaign, their skills and progression community programme, participants are well and truly starting to feel the impact, with 90% of those taking part now stating that they are enjoying a clear idea and focus on what they want to do for a career.
It may have be thriving in Salford and Oldham at the moment, but given the benefit the scheme has already had — not to mention the ambition the Rio Ferdinand Foundation has shown around various areas of the UK since being set up in 2012 — we can only see this spreading further across the region.
The skills-based initiative engages young people aged under 25 years old and living in Guinness homes in a six-month skills-based programme which has been up and running in the two Manc boroughs, as well as the London boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth, since March 2022.
Young people from both Oldham and Salford take part in a weekly schedule of activities designed to tackle youth unemployment, including digital media training (photography, product design, filmmaking, podcasting), building and construction, CV workshops, mock interviews and more.
Not only do these shadowing opportunities garner confidence and raise aspirations among other young people in the local community, but they also help directly develop their employability skills via mentoring.
For instance, Matthew, 19 from Royton in Oldham, completed the programme and then was supported to apply to the Guinness Aspire Awards to request funding to purchase camera and lighting equipment to help him start a small local photography business. Quality stuff.
Matt says that the scheme “has been an amazing opportunity and has given [him] a chance to get back on the right path… I know what I want to do now and can’t wait to start… I would recommend that other people in my position get involved with it in the future.”
As well as markedly increasing participants health and well-being, all 100% of those involved across Salford and Oldham reported feeling more confident, with many now enjoying opportunities with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation’s partners such as Warner Music, Kiss FM, The Jockey Club and the Gym Group.
Speaking on the programme’s success, Rio himself said in a statement: “The Foundation is committed to working with young people at the heart of their communities to offer support, training, and opportunities to those that need it… engaging with the Guinness Partnership has provided a great boost to our reach and our work”.
Well in, Rio. Thankfully, he isn’t the only ex-Manchester-based footballer still trying to make a difference in the local community either:
Campbell, 38, was found dead in his home in Mossley, Tameside, on Saturday 3 July. He had been fatally assaulted and died of the injuries he sustained in the attack.
Belfield was arrested on 23 March 2023 by Suriname authorities on suspicion of drug-related offences – he’ll likely remain in the South American nation’s jurisdiction to face these charges.
Then GMP want to bring him back to Manchester to face questioning from GMP’s Major Incident Team.
Detective Chief Inspector Liz Hopkinson from GMP’s Major Incident team said: “The news of Belfield’s arrest is an important development in our investigation, we will be working with international law enforcement agencies to bring Belfield back to Manchester and continue in our pursuit to find answers for Thomas’ family.
“Through vigilance shown by our colleagues in South America, Belfield was recognised by Suriname’s law enforcement upon his arrest and information regarding his whereabouts was shared with our Force Critical Wanted Unit.
“We have previously released numerous appeals to ask for help in finding him and we thank the public for their continued support in this case.
“This is an excellent result which shows once again, that UK law enforcement does not give up on finding those abroad who are wanted for offences in the UK.”