IN two weeks, new laws will be introduced that will make more places in Bridgend County Borough smoke-free.
The laws being introduced across Wales on 1 March build on the smoking ban that was introduced in 2007 and are designed to protect more people from the harms of second-hand smoke as well as helping those who are trying to quit.
Smoking has been banned at primary school gates in Bridgend County Borough since 2017 but under the new legislation, all school grounds and public playgrounds, outdoor areas at children’s daycare and child-minding settings, and hospital grounds will be smoke-free. Anyone found breaking the law could face a £100 fine.
Councillor Dhanisha Patel, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations, said:
“We know the harm smoking can do to health and I hope Bridgend County Borough residents who visit playgrounds and the staff, parents, guardians and visitors using our schools and care settings for children will back these laws to ensure we all play our part in building a healthier future.
“Wales is the first part of the UK to outlaw smoking in these areas, helping to de-normalise smoking and reduce the chances of children and young people starting smoking in the first place – ultimately saving lives.”
Suzanne Cass, Chief Executive of ASH Wales, an organisation on a mission to achieve a smoke-free Wales, said:
“Those who start smoking before the age of 16 are twice as likely to continue to smoke compared to those who begin later in life, and they are more likely to become heavier smokers.
“We know from the latest ASH Wales YouGov survey that 81% of adult smokers in Wales were aged 18 or under when they tried their first cigarette. It’s crucially important that we prevent today’s young people from becoming the next generation of smokers.
“We hope this legislation will also pave the way for more public areas in Wales to go smoke-free.”
Many smokers have been motivated to give up due to the Covid-19 pandemic and it is hoped the new legislation will encourage even more.
Quitting with support provides the best chance of stopping smoking for good. Those looking for help to stop smoking can access Wales’ free NHS support service Help Me Quit on 0800 085 2219 or visit www.helpmequit.wales (External link – Opens in a new tab or window) for help and support, including access to free stop smoking medication.