Wales Set To Ban Smoking In Outdoor Areas
Ah, the delightful smell of cigarette smoke when you're visiting family in hospital. Such a treat. But it's looking like you won't have to worry about it for much longer.
It's been more than a decade since anyone was allowed to smoke inside a public space, but the UK is set to ban it in outdoor public spaces, too.
Wales is planning to ban smoking in areas like hospital grounds and playgrounds by summer next year.
It's all part of a plan to de-normalise the habit and to protect non-smokers from harmful second-hand smoke.
A lot of hospitals already have no-smoking rules on their grounds, but it's hard to enforce them.
Now, the Welsh Government have talked about issuing fines to anyone who breaks the new rules.
It makes sense really - imagine you've been discharged from hospital, still feeling quite weak and feeble, and have to stroll through a cloud of someone else's cigarette smoke. Not ideal.
Wales banned smoking indoors a few months before England, and once these new extended rules are in place we imagine the rest of the UK won't be far behind.
Our attitudes towards smoking have definitely shifted in the last few years.
Health secretary Vaughan Gething said that in 2007, when the indoor smoking ban came into action, people resisted the change, but that, "We have seen a remarkable culture-change and I am pleased our plan to extend smoke-free areas to outdoor public spaces has received overwhelming public support."
There are, as always, a few campaigners who are criticising the plans, saying that there's nothing wrong with having dedicated smoking areas outside hospitals.
Simon Clark, who's the director of the smokers' group Forest, said: "Targeting patients for smoking in the open air also discriminates against those who are infirm or less mobile."
Sorry, Simon, we reckon you're fighting a losing battle here, mate.
The government has said that smoking-related illnesses cost the NHS around £302 million every year in Wales, and causes about 5,450 deaths, so you can see why they're keen to nip it in the bud.
They're also hoping that the ban will reduce the number of young people picking up the habit.
So it's looking like before long it'll be no cigs allowed in the playground. Seems fair to us.
Words: Daisy Jackson
Featured Image Credit: PA