Children’s playgrounds and holiday cottages in Wales will soon be subject to a smoking ban as legislation is extended to further encourage healthy living.
The ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces in Wales, Northern Ireland and England was introduced in 2007 (2006 in Scotland). But from 1 March, the smoking landscape will change again, as Wales becomes the first country in the UK to introduce the ban in hospital grounds, children’s playgrounds, school grounds and outdoor daycare and childminding settings. Those working in other people’s homes will also be protected from the harms of second-hand smoke as the law will require homes to be smoke-free while goods or services are delivered.
The permitting of smoking in bedrooms in hotels and guest houses, as well as in self-contained holiday accommodation, is also being phased out. These will be smoke-free from 1 March 2022.
The legislation covers tobacco only and does not include e-cigarettes.
Eluned Morgan, minister for mental health, wellbeing and Welsh language, said: “We are still in the midst of a pandemic but we should not set aside legislation aiming to reduce people’s exposure to harmful second-hand smoke and to make this habit a thing of the past for generations to come. We know many smokers have already been motivated by the Covid crisis to quit and our Help Me Quit service has continued to run, ready to help support quitters at every step.
“Banning smoking outside hospitals and places where children and young people spend their time, such as public playgrounds and school grounds, will de-normalise smoking and reduce the chances of children and young people starting smoking in the first place.
"I am grateful for the support of the EH profession, public protection officers and our partners throughout Wales in implementing the legislation. We are proud to be the first part of the UK to outlaw smoking in these areas and once again, to be leading the way.”
Julie Barratt, President of CIEH, said: “We very much welcome the further action being taken by Welsh Government to address smoking in Wales. It is a further step to make smoking the exception rather than the rule, and is particularly welcome as it bans smoking from hospital grounds and children’s playgrounds, neither of which area should be associated with a habit that is recognised as being as serious risk to health.
"There is never a right time to introduce new legislation, and the middle of a pandemic may seem to be the worst time, but the changes to be made by duty holders are relatively small and build on work already embedded and public support for the changes is high, so there is every reason to believe that high levels of compliance with the new regulations will be achieved.”