Wales’ ultimate goal is to become a smoke-free nation with a smoking prevalence rate of 5 percent or less. With a current ratio of 19 percent, the Health Secretary says that there have been significant changes in the attitudes toward smoking since 2007. Smoking is currently prohibited from public buildings and pubs across the UK, but Wales is set to become the first country to ban smoking outdoors.
It will become illegal in Wales to smoke outside like hospital grounds, school spaces, and playgrounds. A violator will be obliged to pay fines to authorities if caught in the act. Penalties will be at £50 and will be reduced to £30 if paid within 15 days.
The strengthening of the smoking ban around public outdoor areas will further protect non-smokers from second-hand smoking and also help to “de-normalize” smoking for children and young people.
It comes after Welsh Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething visited the Glan Clwyd Hospital, where the staff told him that they had been receiving complaints from mothers about smokers outside the hospital when they enter and leave with their babies.
The management of the hospital has said that they also received complaints about smokers at the newly refurbished main entrance and other entrances at the hospital.
“I am proud that Wales continues to be at the forefront of UK action to reduce smoking and prevent young people from taking it up in the first place,” Gething said. “This is another step in the right direction to de-normalize smoking in Wales.”
The Welsh Government’s Tobacco Control Delivery Plan offers free help and advice to the people who wish to quit smoking through Help Me Quit. It aims to help more people to stop by encouraging the use of integrated smoking cessations services, and strengthening the referrals to these services, especially groups with high smoking prevalence.