Smokers in Wales will soon be banned from lighting-up outside hospitals, schools and other educational institutions.
The Welsh Government is set to extend the indoor smoking ban introduced in 2007 to include certain outdoor areas from March 1, 2021.
After this date, anyone caught smoking in hospital grounds, children’s playgrounds and school grounds, as well as outdoor daycare and child-minding settings, could face a £100 fine for breaking the new law.
It builds on the current restrictions which prohibit smoking in enclosed public spaces and work places, making Wales the first UK nation to extend its smoking ban to outdoor areas.
The measures will be further extended to include bedrooms in hotels and guest houses, as well as in self-contained holiday accommodation such as cottages, caravans and Airbnb’s from March 1, 2022.
First announced in 2018, the aim of the new law is to further protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke and “de-normalise” smoking for children and young people.
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At the time of its announcement, Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething, visited the maternity unit at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Debighshire. Staff told Mr Gething they had received complaints from mothers about people smoking outside the hospital when they were entering and leaving with their babies.
Teresa Owen, executive director of public health at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said around the same time: “A hospital is no place for smoking and the health board is determined to create a smoke-free environment.
“We receive numerous complaints about people smoking around the hospital, particularly near the main entrance.
“We need to find a way of ensuring our site is smoke-free while also supporting more patients, visitors and staff to quit.”
Speaking about the introduction of the new outdoor ban, Welsh Government Minister for Mental Health, Wellbeing and Welsh Language, Eluned Morgan, said: “A new year is the perfect time to quit smoking.
“Many smokers have already been motivated by Covid-19 to quit and we know quitting with support provides the best chance to stop smoking for good. Help Me Quit is ready to help at every step.”
Help Me Quit is Public Health Wales’ website with advice, information and support on how to quit smoking. You can also contact them on 0800 085 2219
Help to stop smoking:
Ms Morgan added: “Reducing the number of young people taking up smoking will save lives. We know the harms smoking can do to health and so we’re introducing these new requirements for the benefit of future generations.
“Banning smoking outside hospitals and places where children and young people spend their time, such as public playgrounds and school grounds, will denormalise smoking and reduce the chances of children and young people starting smoking in the first place.
“We are proud to be the first part of the UK to outlaw smoking in these areas and once again leading the way.”