Yorkshire town becomes first in north to introduce '˜smokefree' zones

A Yorkshire town has become the first in the north to introduce no smoking zones as it bids to create a '˜smokefree' high street.
Launch of Smokefree Zone at Barnsley PALS Garden.Launch of Smokefree Zone at Barnsley PALS Garden.
Launch of Smokefree Zone at Barnsley PALS Garden.

Barnsley’s Pals Square has been declared an air safe zone for children, alongside its play parks as it aims to make smoking invisible to children.

And, as its number of smokefree zones is set to be expanded, Barnsley hopes to become the first place in the UK to welcome a smoke-free high street.

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“Pals Square, especially the fountains area, is often full of children playing,” said Coun Jim Andrews, cabinet member for Public Health. “We want to provide a smokefree environment for kids and their families to enjoy.

“As well as the benefits to health, we also hope to see a reduction in cigarette litter in the area, which is costly to clean up as well as being unsightly to residents and visitors.”

New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Melbourne in Australia, and Toronto in Canada have already banned smoking in key outdoor locations and Bristol was first in the UK to pilot smokefree zones in 2015.

Research by Barnsley College students in the town found that most people were in favour of the ban, with 93 per cent of smokers saying they already moderated smoking around children.

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Julia Burrows, director of public health, said: “The smokefree zones will be managed through a voluntary code and although there is no threat of enforcement, we hope that people will show consideration for children by not smoking.”