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Ban smoking on the high street to save lives says charity

Asthma UK & the British Lung Foundation, Wales’ largest respiratory charity, is calling for the Welsh Government to introduce a stronger set of measures to reduce smoking and cut down people’s exposure to second-hand smoke. 

On St David’s Day, new smoking regulations came into effect which banned smoking on hospital grounds, school grounds and playgrounds. This is part of an ongoing campaign to restrict public spaces where smoking is allowed. However, with 1-in-5 people developing a lung condition throughout their lives, Asthma UK & British Lung Foundation Wales claim these new moves “do not go far enough” to stop people being exposed to dangerous second-hand smoke and isn’t matched with greater funding of support services to help smokers quit.

The charity, which recently launched their 2021 Senedd Manifesto, are pushing for a much broader set of new restrictions including; banning smoke on high streets, raising the age you can buy tobacco products from 18 to 21, a new smoking & tobacco strategy, and more. 

Joseph Carter, Head of Asthma UK & British Lung Foundation Wales, said: 

“We’re glad to see the Welsh Government appreciates the dangers that smoking causes and is taking some steps to try and prevent children and vulnerable people from exposure to second-hand smoke. 

“However, these new steps simply do not go far enough. It’s all well and good restricting smoking in and around hospitals and schools, but until we get a more comprehensive approach – looking at all aspects of our society – smoking will continue to do great damage to people across Wales. 

“Smoking is hugely dangerous, not just for the person smoking but for the people around them too. If we genuinely want to protect people’s lungs and ensure our children can grow up without being exposed to these dangerous fumes, then we must be bolder. 

“That is why we’re calling for a new smoking & tobacco strategy which includes a total ban of smoking on high streets across Wales and increasing the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21. This will massively cut down on the number of people being exposed to smoking and help further our goal of a smoke-free society. 

“In addition, we also want to see greater research into alternative nicotine products, such as e-cigarettes, and more funding for the vital services that support people to help quit smoking, such as the NHS’ ‘Help me Quit’ programme. 

“Only by adopting a comprehensive plan, which focuses on both preventing exposure to tobacco products and helping existing smokers to quit or transition to alternatives like e-cigarettes, can we achieve our goal of a Wales where smoking is a thing of the past.” 

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