Council consider voluntary smoking ban in Doncaster town centres to encourage more people to quit

Doncaster Council bosses want to discourage smoking in places like the town centre in order to get more people to ditch the habit.

Smoking could be banned in Doncaster town centre
Smoking could be banned in Doncaster town centre

A new strategy is being drawn up which will see a visible campaign asking people not to smoke in places like parks, playgrounds, hospital grounds, bus stops and outdoor eating and drinking establishments.

Borough chiefs are also considering following Hull's lead by banning parents smoking on the sidelines whilst watching children's sports games.

The plan is set to be delivered in five stages with town centres, markets and ban on sales of tobacco in markets as part of the final stage.

STOCK: smoking.

Electronic cigarettes will also be included in the proposed smoke-free zones as council bosses say they are 'too new for us to fully understand the health impacts' and it could be 'potentially confusing' for members of the public and children.

A survey on the smoke-free strategy shows 66 per cent of 225 responses agreed e-cigarettes should be included in the ban.

Council health chiefs stressed the smoke-free zones will not be enforced and it is more about 'changing social norms'.

The wider survey found 82 per cent agreed with banning smoking in outdoor play areas, 72 per cent supported a ban on people lighting up in hospital grounds and 59 per cent supported a ban in communal spaces such as parks.

High Street, Doncaster. Picture: Marie Caley/Doncaster Free Press

Nearly 20 per cent of people in Doncaster smoke and the council recently admitted their target to reduce the prevalence to 10 per cent by 2022 was not 'achievable'

Dr Victor Joseph, public health consultant at Doncaster Council, said: "What we want to do is to achieve a smoke free environment and this is centred around children and future generations.

"Smoking remains a public health issue both nationally and here in Doncaster and we need to do something about it because we have higher rates than a lot of the country,"

"On the ban on e-cigarettes, many children will not differentiate somebody vaping and those who smoke tobacco and it's to change the culture and they will not see the action of someone puffing on a product like this.

"This is a voluntary measure to discourage people smoking on the high street and we're not taking a hard line stance in that way. A lot of people go down the high streets including children.

"We're not saying to people 'don't smoke' but be mindful of others and children."

The proposal will be debated by councillors at a health and wellbeing board meeting on Thursday, September 5 at Civic Office.

If approved by the board, the strategy will in future be signed if by cabinet members to implement the strategy.