London, July 19 (IANS) UK councils have called on for a smoking ban outside pubs, cafes and bars to make them more family-friendly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils in England, is urging peers to support an amendment to the Business and Planning Bill which would make all pavement licences issued by councils subject to the condition they are smoke-free places, the Metro newspaper reported.
The LGA said on Saturday that it will help high streets recover from the COVID-19 lockdown because the law would give customers and neighbouring shops the certainty they will not be exposed to second-hand smoke.
Councillor Paulette Hamilton, vice-chair of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, urged peers to give councils the powers to extend smoke-free areas to include pavements so the summer can “be enjoyed by everyone”.
“Pavement licensing should not be a catalyst to increase smoking in public places, putting people at greater risk of ingesting second-hand smoke when they are enjoying a drink or a meal,” she added.
The LGA added the measure would also contribute to the government’s ambition of England becoming a smoke-free nation by 2030, following recent figures showing a continuing decline in the number of people smoking.
But a spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: ‘We will not ban outdoor smoking, reports the Metro newspaper.
“Since the existing ban was introduced businesses have invested heavily in their outdoor areas and banning outdoor smoking would lead to significant closures and job losses.
“Businesses should look at ways they can accommodate both smokers and non-smokers, while smokers should exercise public responsibility and be considerate,” he added.