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£80 fines for cigarettes dropped outside hospitals

People who drop cigarette butts outside Wales' largest hospital are being slapped with £80 fines.

Credit: Ken Lennox/PA Wire

The Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) are being handed out at Cardiff's University Hospital of Wales and all grounds controlled by the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

Littering also attracts a fine.

We are patrolling known areas to educate offenders about waste disposal and are issuing FPNs to anyone seen dropping litter.

In just one afternoon, I alone have issued hundreds of pounds’ worth of FPNs. One was to a taxi driver dropping a cigarette butt out the window and another was to a visitor discarding her cigarette as she made her way towards the hospital entrance.

Some have dropped other items such as coffee cups.

– Wayne Jones, Cardiff City Council

Voluntary smoking ban trialled at second Welsh beach

A voluntary smoking ban starts today in a trial at Caswell Bay, Swansea.

Credit: Google Maps

Swansea Council says it's part of a drive to create more smoke-free places in the city. Little Haven in Pembrokeshire was the first smoke-free beach.

We know that seeing smoking highly influences young people and it is imperative we do anything we can to stop smoking being seen as 'normal' and keep our next generation away from tobacco's clutches.

Caswell Bay is a picturesque area in Swansea. Chemical-filled cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world with over 4 trillion tonnes being dropped annually. A voluntary ban on smoking here will have a huge impact on preserving this area's natural beauty by reducing litter which pollutes our beaches and waterways.

– Suzanne Cass, Chief Executive ASH Wales Cymru

But campaigners have criticised Swansea Council following the announcement. Simon Clark, director of the smokers' group Forest, said:

Smoking in the open air poses no risk to anyone else's health, nor is there evidence that the sight of a stranger smoking encourages children to smoke.

Youth smoking rates are currently at their lowest levels ever so this policy is both intrusive and unnecessary.

– Simon Clark, Forest


Smoking rates in Wales drop to 'lowest ever level'

Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

A survey published by the Welsh Government says the number of adults smoking in Wales has fallen to the lowest ever level and other lifestyle habits are showing signs of improvement.

A total of 14,000 adults and 3,000 children took part in the Welsh Health Survey 2014. Key results show:

  • Smoking has fallen to its lowest ever level – 20% of adults reported they currently smoke
  • Drinking and binge drinking has fallen again to its lowest reported level – 40% of adults reported drinking above the recommended guidelines on at least one day in the past week
  • Obesity rates have not increased over the past two years
  • Around 31% of adults reported being physically active on five or more days in the previous week;
  • 94% of children reported having very good or good general health;

The Welsh Health Survey is the nation’s annual health check-up; the results show encouraging signs of improvement, however, many of us are still not acting on advice and taking steps to lead healthier and more active lifestyles, which we know can be beneficial to our own health and wellbeing.

We also know that our poor lifestyle choices can – and do - put a huge strain on the Welsh NHS. The government has a responsibility to create the right conditions in which we can all live full and healthy lives and each of us has a duty to look after ourselves.

– Mark Drakeford AM, Health and Social Services Minister

While I take encouragement in the gradual improvement seen in our nation’s health, the reality is that too many of us are still drinking too much, eating too much and not being active enough.

It’s good to see the number of people smoking continuing to fall but there is still a long way to go to reach our goal. Our lifestyle choices can lead to serious health problems which can affect our quality of life and ultimately risk our lives.

– Dr Ruth Hussey, Chief Medical Officer for Wales

RCP: 'E-cigarettes are way out of smoking for so many'

Professor John Britton, chair of the Royal College of Physicians' Tobacco Advisory Group, said the doctors group disagrees with the Welsh Government's plans to ban e-cigarettes from enclosed public spaces "simply because electronic cigarettes are the way out of smoking for so many smokers."

He said "it's inappropriate to use tobacco legislation" for the vapour devices.

Doctors group: E-cigarettes could help cut smoking

The Royal College of Physicians says "e-cigarettes could lead to significant falls in the prevalence of smoking".

While it supports regulation of electronic cigarettes, the doctors group does not support the Welsh Government's plans to ban the use of e-cigs in enclosed public places.

The RCP says: "On the basis of available evidence, the RCP believes that e-cigarettes could lead to significant falls in the prevalence of smoking, prevent many deaths and episodes of serious illness, and help to reduce the social inequalities in health that tobacco smoking currently exacerbates."

Read More: Welsh Government proposes ban on e-cigs in enclosed public places

It has published its response to the Welsh Government's consultation, saying:

  • Electronic cigarettes and other novel nicotine devices can provide an effective, affordable and readily available retail alternative to conventional cigarettes
  • These new products present potential risks as well as opportunities for health, and therefore the RCP advocates proportionate regulation
  • Regulation should ensure that products deliver nicotine effectively and safely, that advertising and promotion do not target young people or other non-smokers, and that advertising and use (for example, in public places) do not undermine smoking prevention policies
  • The RCP supports regulation of electronic cigarettes - and close monitoring of their use is essential to ensure trends counter to public health are identified and acted upon
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