Oxfordshire may become first county to ban smoking in outdoor dining areas

It‘s part of a ‘smoke-free’ plan


Oxfordshire may become the first county in the UK to ban smoking in outdoor dining areas, the Oxford Mail reports.

Just as you thought the government was starting to let up on controlling every action you do, it turns out the easing of lockdown isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

The county could be the first to experience the beginning of the “smoke-free” plan, as agreed by public health officials pre-Covid, in February 2020.

The strategies being put in place as lockdown continues to ease include introducing smoke-free zones in outdoor dining spaces and outside workplaces, to “empower” people to not smoke.

These areas have been described by the county’s public health director Ansaf Azhar, as “an environment in which not smoking is encouraged and they are empowered to do so”. He said: “It is not about telling people not to smoke.”

Dr Briggs, the public health official leading the strategy, said: “We have got a condition that is entirely a commercially driven cause of death and disease. It is impossible to be on the wrong side of history with tobacco consumption.”

Member of the health improvement partnership board Andrew McHugh said he’s asked Cherwell District Council to make all new pavement licenses (licenses which let restaurants and bars have tables and chairs outside the premises) smoke-free.

The council said the easing of lockdown restrictions wasn’t the time for putting more rules on businesses and denied the request, but Dr Briggs reportedly asked members of different councils around Oxfordshire to similar smoking ban requests in the near future.

 There’s no set dates about when the strategies will be coming into effect yet, but it’s one of several plans set out by the government in its attempts to improve public health, including the controversial scheme to make the printing of calories mandatory on menus. 

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