Smokefree spaces – Make Smoking History

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More smokefree spaces are coming to Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester has a vision to make smoking history, and exciting plans are underway to make more outdoor spaces in our amazing city-region smokefree.

What is a smokefree space?

A smokefree space is an outdoor area where people are asked to refrain from smoking. Across Greater Manchester there are already plenty of smokefree spaces, such as children’s play areas, parks and green spaces, hospital grounds, transport hubs (bus and tram stops), and areas within the immediate vicinity of schools and public buildings.

Smokefree spaces support the community in four main ways:

  1. Show younger generations that smoking is no longer the norm – and stop them from ever starting to smoke
  2. Create healthier environments for everyone to enjoy without having to breathe in second-hand smoke
  3. Help reduce cigarette litter and waste which is toxic to our environment, waterways, and wildlife
  4. Support people who are trying to quit smoking to stay smokefree

Plans to create more smokefree spaces in Greater Manchester

In August 2022, Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership (GM ICP) announced plans to create more smokefree spaces in Greater Manchester and launched a public consultation asking members of the public for their views and opinions to help shape the initiative. There was an incredible response to the consultation and all feedback has been taken into consideration. Download the report from the resources section below.

Frequently asked questions

Is second-hand smoke really a risk in outdoor spaces?

There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke as even small amounts can be harmful to people’s health.

Second-hand smoke comes from the tip of a lit cigarette and the smoke that is breathed out by a smoker. Breathing in second-hand smoke, also known as passive smoking, can increase a person’s risk of getting the same diseases as smokers, including lung cancer and heart disease.

Breathing in second-hand smoke is especially harmful for children as they have less well-developed airways, lungs, and immune systems, and for adults living with respiratory illnesses like asthma, COPD and cystic fibrosis. Pregnant women that are exposed to second-hand smoke are at an increased risk of complications during pregnancy and birth.

How do cigarettes impact the environment?

Every step in the supply chain of tobacco causes devastating damage to our ecosystems – from farming and manufacturing tobacco to smoking and litter.

The cultivation of tobacco crops leads to pollution, soil degradation and deforestation which contributes to climate change and loss of biodiversity. Tobacco smoke also contributes to air pollution by releasing toxic chemicals into the atmosphere. But the biggest long-term harm to the environment comes from cigarette filters which are predominantly made of plastic

Not only is the plastic harmful to our environment, but they also release toxic residual chemicals from inside the used filter. These include arsenic and lead, which harms our environment and is poisonous to any wildlife that comes into contact with it.

It’s estimated 70 tonnes of cigarettes are discarded in Greater Manchester each year – littering our green spaces, streets, roadsides, waterways and drains with toxic chemicals.

How will smokefree spaces be enforced?

There are no plans to bring in legislation or fine people for smoking in public. Instead, we intend to build on public support for smokefree spaces and take an ‘education-first’ approach by encouraging people to not smoke in smokefree spaces.

Smokefree spaces will be clearly signposted and people who do smoke may be asked to stub out and dispose of their cigarette or leave the smokefree area.

We recognise smoking is a serious addiction and people need support to quit. We will continue to offer support and advice to anyone wanting to quit smoking.

I’m a local business/landowner and want my outdoor space to be smokefree

There are many benefits to businesses and landowners to make their outdoor spaces smokefree. To speak to a member of our team for advice and guidance, or to put your space forward to be made smokefree under our plans, please email [email protected]

Where can I get help to quit smoking?

Get free, personalised support to quit smoking from your Local Stop Smoking Service, GP or pharmacist. Or call the NHS Stop Smoking helpline free on 0300 123 1044. Greater Manchester residents can also get six months’ free access to the Smoke Free app (T&Cs apply).

About the initiative

Greater Manchester’s Smokefree Spaces is delivered by Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership and supported by the Partnership for Healthy Cities network — an initiative of Bloomberg Philanthropies, the World Health Organization and Vital Strategies.