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Former Olympics minister backs London smoking ban

Former Olympics minister Dame Tessa Jowell today called on Boris Johnson to introduce a smoking ban in London's parks.

Boris Johnson and Dame Tessa Jowell Credit: PA

Dame Tessa is regarded as a potential Labour candidate for City Hall in 2016.

A new report has urged to make parks and open spaces like Trafalgar Square smoke-free zones.

But Johnson appeared hesitant, saying there needed to be clear evidence it would save lives.

The Mayor must adopt Lord Darzi’s proposals for smoke free parks in full. We need to make the healthier choice the easier choice for Londoners. The Mayor has a proposal sitting at his feet which could mark the start of a serious public health crusade in the next decade in London.

As Lord Darzi’s report states, every week two classrooms of London children take up smoking. Every year, 8,400 Londoners die from smoking – the number one cause of preventable deaths in our capital city. He must seize this opportunity to build a coalition of support across our city to tackle London's shocking health inequalities.

It is also crucial that the Mayor accelerates his plans to improve air quality, every year over 4,000 Londoners die prematurely due to poor air pollution. He has less than two years left as Mayor, but it is not too late for him to leave a legacy of public health improvement for our great city.

– Dame Tessa Jowell

Your views: Should smoking be banned in public places?

Boris Johnson is under pressure to ban smoking in ALL London parks. Smoke free zones could also be created at landmark open spaces like Trafalgar Square.

Would you back a ban? Is this a fair way to try and improve public health? Or would it be a step too far and an infringement of your civil liberties? Let us know.

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Tanja Günther Ridiculous! As a smoker, I'm more than okay not to smoke in a pub etc and at a station, but banning it from open spaces?!?! Ridiculous!

Jill Franks I'm a non smoker but this is just stupid!!!! Leave people that smoke alone, it's their choice! Ban smoking.... Make it illegal but I tell you one thing..... Without the tax people pay on the fags the NHS really will crumble!!

Li Li Lou Stevens Turning in to a nanny state cant beleave how ridiculous this country is now.

Andrew Jarman Ideally cigarettes (and cigars, etc) should be phased out altogether. They contribute nothing to society apart from causing cancer and smoking related heart diseases. As a minimum tobacco companies should be prohibited from adding anything that increases the addictiveness of smoking and pricing points made to such a level that it naturally dies out. Bans don't work that just makes it attractive to criminal gangs much as it has done with cocaine and heroin.

Josephine Boorman Ridiculous! as a non-smoker I believe that it's not going to hurt me at all if someone smokes a cigarette outside! provided they're not actually blowing the smoke in my face of course.Too much nanny state in not a good thing.Smokers have rights too you know!

Gaz Diggens As a non smoker, I do think that this idea is madness.People who want to smoke in a park, should do.When I have been in a park & people are smoking it has never bothered me. PC gone nuts.


Boris' 'Better Junctions' programme criticised

Parliament Square, one of the junctions under assessment Credit: PA

Labour London Assembly Member Val Shawcross has raised concerns about Boris Johnson's 'Better Junctions' programme after her requests for an update on the project were ignored by the Mayor's office.

The programme was set up to assess 500 of the worst junctions in the capital, but that number was cut to 33. Ms Shawcross now fears that the number could be scaled back further due to the lack of information on the project.

She said: "It is staggering that Boris Johnson has adopted such a secretive, snail-pace approach to this problem, especially given the cyclists killed and injured which prompted this review. As we head into winter and road conditions become more dangerous for cyclists people will want to know what is taking the Mayor so long."

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