The town of Luton is set to adopt three new anti-smoking initiatives in a bid to go smoke-free.
The proposals will be put in place pending the approval of the borough council executive.
While the policy is entirely voluntary, smokers would be encouraged not to smoke in certain areas, such as council-owned playgrounds and entrances to The Mall shopping centre.
Local schoolchildren will help design the posters and signs deterring smokers from lighting up in these public places.
Asked whether vaping would be included in the campaign, council public health development officer, Lisa Hudson, said:
“Vaping is found to be 95 per cent safer than smoking tobacco. So we as public health in Luton have no issues with people vaping outside.”
Smoking continues to create a significant burden for the NHS and local councils despite the historically low prevalence of cigarette use.
Ms Hudson said:
“If you consider social care costs, how much we spend as a council on tidying up and getting rid of cigarette paraphernalia, and the NHS expense, it does cost us £49.8m.
“If you take away what we gain in duty on cigarettes, it’s £23.3m. It is still a significant amount.”