Bristol bans smoking in certain public places
3rd February 2015
smoking banBristol yesterday became the first UK city to introduce a new pilot scheme that has banned smoking in certain public places. The voluntary smoking ban is being trialled at two of the city's busiest outdoor areas.  Millennium and Anchor Squares at the Harbourside will become smoke-free following a poll of local residents found that 61% were in favour of such moves. Thanks to the new pilot scheme, smokers will now be asked to stub out their cigarettes when in the two previously mentioned areas, however it is left to the discretion of each individual bar and restaurant if they decide to comply or not. The project has been pioneered by the local government group Smokefree South West, and was kick-started after the story emerged of 33-year-old mother Kirsty Vass, diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) a year ago when one of her lungs collapsed. Ms Vass’ smoking habit led to her going through around 20 cigarettes per day for over 15 years, now leaving her repeatedly struggling for breath, unable to travel and relying on the support of her 15-year-old daughter, Lucy. “My smoking illness has caused my whole world to come crashing down,” Ms Vass, of Torbay, Devon, said. “If young people see you smoking then they think it’s alright, but they don't understand what it can do to you, so making smoking less visible in public places can only be a good thing. “I don't want other people to be like me because this isn't a life, it's a life sentence. If I can make people realise that this is what smoking does to you then please, please, please quit now because it's really not worth it, especially if you've got kids.” A poll of 1,000 people carried out by Smokefree South West found that over four out of five people have tried to persuade either a friend or loved-one to quit smoking. More than half admitted to feeling anxious due to their friend or loved-one still continuing to smoke, whilst over one in ten even said that this worry sometimes kept them awake at night. Smoking at popular outdoor places is already banned in cities around the world such as New York, Toronto and Hong Kong, and many hope that the scheme will now be adopted by cities around Britain. Fiona Andrews, director of Smokefree South West, said: “This is an exciting initiative that we hope will have a lasting impact on not just Millennium Square and Anchor Square, but the wider region and potentially the rest of the UK. “These city centre squares are often full of children playing and this pilot will provide a smoke-free environment for kids and their parents to enjoy. “We know that most smokers want to quit but often put it off until it's too late to avoid serious damaging disease or early death. “We all know smoking kills but somehow we think it will kill 'other people' not us. For those who are close friends of a smoker or who love them this can be very hard and even frightening to live with. “Smoking has a dramatic emotional impact on friends and family members, on top of the well documented damage caused by passive smoking, which is especially harmful to children who breathe it in more rapidly. “The message is simple, if you don't want to quit for your own health, then take that step to do it for the health of your family and your relationships, as your loved ones are desperate to help you quit, but often feel powerless to do so. “The trick is to keep setting a date to go smokefree. Powerful campaigns that help bring home just why it is worth stopping, and then help show them how to quit, help to spur smokers on again to break free of tobacco. “We are saying to all smokers in the south west: evidence shows 1 in 2 of you will die early of a tobacco-related disease, but it doesn't have to be that way for you.”