London mayor frosty to smoking ban in parks


London, England, not the London that’s home to Joe Thornton and Drew Doughty, has started up a huge brouhaha by proposing to ban smoking in parks.

The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, called the proposal “taking bossiness too far.”

“People should be discouraged from smoking but I think actively to ban people from doing something that is legal in a big open space is taking bossiness too far,” he told the BBC.


Apparently, Boris, if I may call him Boris, just because I think it’s funny the mayor of London is named Boris, has the power to direct the city’s parks board to adopt recommendations from a report on how to improve the city’s health.

In addition, England’s version of FORCES, called Forest (don’t know much about them, I’ll have to look into them), came out against the proposed ban.

“A ban on smoking in parks and squares would be outrageous,” said Simon Clark, director of Forest, which campaigns on behalf of smokers. “There’s no health risk to anyone other than the smoker. If you don’t like the smell, walk away.”

Personally, I think banning smoking in parks likely has a pretty minimal effect on the smoking rate or smokers’ health, and that the biggest argument in favour of them is that they cut down on pollution. Beach and parks bans on smoking drive smokers nuts, because it’s the great outdoors and people aren’t affected much by outdoor secondhand smoke (you can simply walk away from it if it bothers you.)

However, my sympathy is really limited for smokers here because of the littering and pollution issues. Several tons of cigarette butts have to be cleaned out of parks and beaches every year. People using beaches and parks as ashtrays are the biggest problem with smoking in parks.