Smokers are being encouraged to quit smoking for the new year ahead of new smoke-free laws being introduced in Wales on St. David’s Day.
From 1 March, Wales’ ban on smoking in hospital grounds, children’s playgrounds and school grounds, as well as outdoor day-care and child-minding settings, will be introduced. Anyone caught breaking the law could face a £100 fine.
It is hoped preventing smoking on hospital sites will promote healthier care environments and support smokers using hospital services to quit.
Minister for Mental Health, Wellbeing and Welsh Language Eluned Morgan said: “We are now just two months away from tighter smoking restrictions coming into force in Wales and the start of a new year is the perfect time to quit smoking.
“Many smokers have already been motivated by Covid-19 to quit and we know quitting with support provides the best chance of stop smoking for good. Help Me Quit is ready to help at every step.”
The new restrictions build on the smoking ban introduced in 2007 which made indoor enclosed public places and workplaces smoke-free. To protect more workers from the harms of second-hand smoke, the law will also require those working in others’ homes to be able to work in a smoke-free environment.
Smoking in bedrooms in hotels and guest houses, as well as in self-contained holiday accommodation such as cottages, caravans and Airbnb’s, are also being phased out and will be smoke-free from 1 March 2022.
“Reducing the number of young people taking up smoking will save lives,” Eluned Morgan said. “We know the harms smoking can do to health and so we’re introducing these new requirements for the benefit of future generations.
“Banning smoking outside hospitals and places where children and young people spend their time, such as public playgrounds and school grounds, will denormalise smoking and reduce the chances of children and young people starting smoking in the first place.
“We are proud to be the first part of the UK to outlaw smoking in these areas and once again leading the way.”
The Welsh Government said that they hoped the tighter restrictions will not only reduce people’s exposure to harmful second-hand smoke, but will also reduce the number of young people taking up smoking as well as help those trying to quit.
Those looking to quit smoking in the new year are being urged to access Wales’ free NHS support service, Help Me Quit on 0800 085 2219 www.helpmequit.wales for help and support, including access to free stop smoking medication.