Call to extend smoking ban to pub gardens and outside schools

The 2007 smoking ban made it illegal to smoke in an enclosed public place and within the workplace. Credit: PA

The smoking ban should be extended to beer gardens, outdoor areas of bars and around schools, a new report has recommended.

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) said around a third of smokers would be more likely to quit if it was banned in such areas.

The 2007 smoking ban made it illegal to smoke in an enclosed public place and within the workplace.

In its report, the society also claimed nicotine is "no more harmful to health than caffeine".

It called for greater promotion of alternatives to cigarettes and measures to make it harder to use tobacco.

"By reducing the prominence of smoking in public locations, particularly those visited by children, we can ensure that smoking is no longer seen as a normal or safe activity," the report said.

Shirley Cramer CBE, chief executive of the RSPH, added: "Using safer forms of nicotine such as Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and e-cigarettes are effective in helping people quit."

The society said people needed to be educated on the "harmless" nature of nicotine. It said even though e-cigarettes and NRTs contain nicotine, they don't have the harmful substances found in cigarettes.

"Getting people onto nicotine rather than using tobacco would make a big difference to the public’s health," said Ms Cramer.

The report also called for the mandatory sale of NRTs in shops selling cigarettes and the renaming of e-cigarettes to nicotine sticks or vapourisers so people do not think of them as being cigarettes.