• August 12, 2020

Park ban on smoking ‘excessive and unnecessary’

A smokers’ group has criticised a ban on smoking and vaping in public parks in the county of Waterford, Ireland, describing the measure as ‘excessive and unnecessary’, according to a story in the Irish Times.

The Irish branch of Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco (Forest) was responding to the introduction by Waterford City and County Council of by-laws prohibiting smoking and swearing in its parks.

The new rules, designed to discourage ‘anti-social behaviour’, will ban also, among other things, barbecues, gambling, the use of firearms, religious ceremonies, horses and model airplanes.

The by-laws were passed by the council last week and will come into effect on July 1.

‘There is nothing anti-social about smoking in a public park,’ Forest said in a statement.

‘There is no risk to anyone else, including children. Most of the time, unless you’re very close, you won’t even be aware they’re doing it.’

And the group said it made even less sense to ban electronic cigarettes.

“Vaping is not smoking, however you look at it’ Forest said. ‘An increasing number of smokers are using e-cigarettes as a harm reduction or smoking cessation aid. Why ban something that some people are using to quit smoking?”

Forest said there were already laws to deal with people making loud or repeated profanities in public places. “These new rules are excessive and unnecessary’ it said. ‘The overwhelming majority of people know how to behave in public spaces without being regulated to an inch of their lives.”

Forest Éireann is funded by Forest UK, which receives donations from tobacco companies in Britain and Ireland.