Tory MSP calls for smoking ban to cover play parks

Rachael Hamilton has lodged a motion on the issue at the Scottish Parliament.

Tory MSP calls for smoking ban to cover play parks Pixabay
Smoking: Rachel Hamilton has lodged a motion on the issue at Holyrood.

A Tory MSP has called on the Scottish Government to ban smoking in play parks and outdoor sports facilities.

Rachael Hamilton said such a move – as introduced in Wales – would help protect children from the harmful effects of passive smoking.

The smokers’ rights organisation Forest branded her efforts “self-righteous”.

Ms Hamilton, the Conservative MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, said passive smoking “still has a significant impact on our health”.

This is despite the smoking ban, introduced in 2006, preventing people from lighting up in enclosed public spaces.

Ms Hamilton has submitted a motion at Holyrood calling for a ban at play parks and outdoor sports facilities, saying it would help improve public health.

Writing on her website, she said: “I am calling on the Scottish Government to follow the Welsh Government’s example, by banning smoking in play parks, playgrounds and outdoor sports facilities, where children may be playing or participating in sport.”

Forest director Simon Clark said: “A ban on smoking in play parks and outdoor sports grounds would be a gross over-reaction.

“Legislation must be evidence-based and there is no evidence that smoking outside, in the open air, poses a significant threat to other people’s health, including children.

“Regardless of the negligible health risks, the overwhelming majority of smokers don’t smoke in children’s play areas.

“Further legislation would merely highlight the chasm that exists between ordinary people and self-righteous politicians who want to instruct us how to behave.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Smoking remains the single biggest preventable cause of illness in Scotland and we are committed to protecting children from exposure to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke and discouraging young people from adopting the habit.

“The majority of local authorities in Scotland already have policies in place which restrict smoking around schools, playgrounds, play parks and outdoor sports facilities.

“Our action plan sets out a series of measures which leave no-one in any doubt that we are determined to continue to be a world leader in tobacco control.”