The city of Bristol in south-west England has turned two squares that are very popular with families with young children into smoke-free zones.
Smokefree South West, a charity commissioned by 15 local health authorities to create a smoke-free future for children, has teamed up with Bristol City Council to create smoke-free zones where families with young children visit. Signs have been placed around two city centre squares to encourage smokers to move elsewhere to smoke and the system is self-regulatory: parents are asking smokers to go elsewhere.
The movement to have smoke-free cities in the UK began with a report from former health minister, Lord Darzi, in which he states public parks and famous landmarks in cities such as Trafalgar Square in London, should be smoke-free. New York, Toronto and Hong Kong have already created smoke-free zones in key public places. The pilot in Bristol is the first in the UK and it is expected other cities will soon follow this example in providing smoke-free environments for children and their families.
Bristol has acted exemplarily and hope remains that other councils will copy Bristol’s strategy, maybe even expanding the smoke-free policy to all public spaces. It is important the right of our children to breathe clean air is acknowledged and acted upon.