Should Smoking Be Banned In UK City Parks?

April 29, 2022 2 min read


It’s not the first time a debate has been opened regarding smoking in public but the deputy city mayor of Leicester Councillor Roy Palmer has opened a discussion with the public and has invited people to get in touch so their views may be heard.

Health Minister Suggests Smoking Park Ban 

This is following former health minister Lord Darzi’s report Better Health for London in which he suggests that smoking in the city’s parks and open areas like Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square should be banned. Boris Johnson is not reported to be a fan of the proposal; he went so far as to deem it “too bossy”.

Smoking Ban To Follow In The Footsteps Of Central Park

New York has instigated a smoking ban within Central Park in a bid to clean up the parks’ image and Sally Davies the chief medical officer for England has said that she would welcome any measure to reduce smoking.

Councillor Palmer has said that he would welcome debate and exploration around a smoking ban but that it should be taken into consideration that a balance between individual freedom and a ban would need to be carefully struck. He also expressed concern about the “glamorous” image which smoking still retains.

Indoor Smoking Ban Success

Since 2007 smoking in public areas which are indoors or under shelter has been banned and the measures are deemed to have been very successful with smokers themselves claiming that they would not change things back to the way they were.

But is there a difference between smoking in a pub or café and smoking in a park or even woodland? When do commoner’s rights to land become “rights only to a degree”?

If public land, in trust for the public to enjoy is truly public, how could it be possible or wise to stop people from smoking there? Would a ban within parks lead eventually to a ban in the street or even in your own back garden?

No Easy Solution

There is no easy solution; while the issue is of vital importance to the health of future generations, it is also important to consider the freedom of the individual when out and about. The answer may lie in the fact that smokers are becoming a real minority and if we want this trend to continue, then perhaps a ban in parks might be a step in the right direction?

It will be important however to consider the fact that some private residences lie within the boundaries of public parks…where does a ban begin and where does it end?