WARRINGTON Borough Council says it is keen to learn from other areas that are beginning to restrict smoking in outdoor hospitality areas.

But it has fallen short of confirming whether it is actively considering implementing something similar.

This comes after Oxfordshire County Council revealed it was considering a smoking ban for outdoor hospitality as part of its plans to become the first smoke-free county by 2025.

The plans would see employers encouraged to promote smoke-free environments and support staff to quit smoking.

An Oxfordshire County Council spokesman said: “Oxfordshire has set itself an ambitious aim to be smoke-free by 2025.

“Creating healthy, smoke-free environments – including considering proposals for hospitality outdoor seating to be 100 per cent smoke-free – is just one small part of a wider range of county-wide plans.

“At present there are no timeframes for smoke-free pavement licensing proposals and nothing has yet been agreed.”

Warrington Guardian:

When asked for opinions on Facebook, most Warrington Guardian readers fell short of supporting a similar ban.

Instead, they called for more thought from those wishing to smoke and called for designated areas for them to enjoy smoking without disturbing others.

One reader said: “I don't think there should be a ban, however I think smokers could definitely be a bit more considerate of where they are smoking.

“I have a three-month-old baby, and the amount that people have sat on the next table to us outside and sparked up a cigarette isn't fair.”

Another commented: “Why not have no smoking in family areas? Set an area for smokers so they can sit with their family, go to the smoking area for a cig and then join their family again.”

A further comment read: “I think it should be banned where food is being served. There is nothing worse than trying to have a meal and inhaling second-hand smoke.”

And another added: “Not a complete ban, but I think they should have designated areas so you don’t have to inhale smoke from the next table.”

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When asked for the council’s stance on the issue, Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, stated the council is encouraging of businesses going smoke-free.

She explained: “Coronavirus has meant that businesses have had to use their outdoor spaces more – and we want hospitality venues to be safe, unpolluted spaces for all to enjoy.

“We continue to encourage businesses to adopt smoke free environments as part of our wider Health and Wellbeing Strategy and to support people who wish to quit smoking.

“We are learning from other areas who have started to restrict smoking in outdoor hospitality venues to see if we need to use related policies, such as licensing, to help achieve our wider objectives to improve health and to make Warrington a place for everyone to enjoy.”

Some campaigners have criticised proposed smoking bans since the idea was touted by Oxfordshire County Council.

Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ lobby group Forest, said: “It is no business of local councils if adults choose to smoke, and if they smoke outside during working hours, that is a matter for them and their employer, not the council.

“Nor should it be the role of councillors to force smokers to quit by extending the indoor smoking ban to any outdoor area where there is no risk to non-smokers.”