Updated: Sunday, 29th March 2020 @ 7:27am

Piccadilly Pulse: Should we ban smoking in parks and other public spaces?

Piccadilly Pulse: Should we ban smoking in parks and other public spaces?

| By Lewis Pennock

Smoking could soon be banned throughout London's open spaces in an attempt to save lives, under new proposals unveiled yesterday.

Boris Johnson, the capital's mayor, has been advised that the plans could reduce smoking rates – and if the scheme were successful it may be rolled out across the UK.

But what do Mancunians make of a ban on smoking in public spaces, something already enforced in New York and Hong Kong?

MM headed into Manchester to find out, and the result was almost a dead heat – half in favour of the proposals and half against.

Should we ban smoking in parks and other public spaces?







Londoner Lilah Sharp, a 21-year-old student living in Manchester, was quick to praise the proposals.

She said: "I think it's a good idea. I'm the only one in a big group of friends that doesn't smoke and I don't like that I'm put in an awkward position sometimes.

"It's an incentive for them to give up – the more difficult it gets for you the more expensive it gets. It's something for them to be like 'ok, I won't buy a pack today.'"

ME AND MY FRIENDS: Lilah Sharp thinks the idea will save her from being singled out from her friends as the only non-smoker

David Potts, a 29-year-old teacher from Preston, also welcomed the idea.

He said: "I think that [a ban] is right because of the rubbish. I've got two dogs. I don't want to see cigarettes butts lying on the ground when I take them for a walk.

"If you walk past smokers in the park you have to breathe in their smoke too."

But street fundraiser Laura Shepherd, 21, of Chorlton, disagreed with the plans – but did agree that there's a problem with litter.

"I don't believe it should be banned if people are stubbing them out," she said, "as long as people aren't chucking them on the ground it's ok.

"Maybe be more strict about people throwing their stubs on the ground."

STUB IT OUT: Laura Shepherd has no issue with smokers as long as they don't litter

Adam Carr, 22, a phone technician from Newcastle, feels indifferent about the issue.

"No, I'm not really bothered. To be fair if someone wants to smoke, they can smoke. It's their choice.

"Packs of cigarettes cost about eight quid, if smokers want to go and do that it’s up to them."

Lab technician Dan Smith, 24, of Ancoats, thinks the suggested measures should be taken even further.

"To be honest, I think smoking should be banned anyway," he told MM.

"These are spaces that non-smokers want to enjoy. We shouldn’t have to put up with their habit. More needs to be done to make them stop.”

Rory Lees, a 24-year-old marketing assistant from Heywood, shrugged off the idea.

He said: "I smoke occasionally and it's just not a very big deal.

"It's a bit different in really crowded places, but if it's outside it’s alright. In London the stuff you breathe in anyway – the pollution – is probably just as bad for you as passive smoking."

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL: Part-time smoker Rory Lees doesn't understand why people are fuming

Warehouse operative Jakob Simicek, a 26-year-old from the Czech Republic who now lives in Burnley, told MM: "I'm a smoker myself and I quite enjoy sitting in the park and having a cigarette.

"I don't really think it's doing people any harm to smoke outdoors."

I'M NOT DOING ANY HARM: Leave me be to smoke in the park, says warehouse operative Jacob Simicek

Liverpudlian Ashlee Moorcroft shared a different opinion. The student nurse, 24, said: "I think it should be [banned]. Coming from an ex-smoker I think it's going to stop more people from smoking in the first place.

"It could save lives."

Walid Safar, 33, a Libyan student, agreed. He said: "I wouldn't mind if smoking was banned in parks.

"It's a bad habit and more needs to be done to stop people smoking."

Exchange student Joseph Defant, a 20-year-old from the German city of Kiel, told MM a ban wasn’t needed.

"I think smoking is ok if it's out in the open, in the fresh air," he said.

"People know it is not good to smoke, but if they want to smoke outside that's a choice for them. Leave it up to the people."

Image courtesy of Quasic, via Flickr, with thanks