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Have your say on whether Bexleyheath town centre should becoming a smoke-free zone

PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 February 2018

Cllr Peter Craske. Picture: Archant

Cllr Peter Craske. Picture: Archant

Archant

The council is asking local people whether they think Bexleyheath town centre should ban smoking and use of e-cigarettes.

The consultation, which started yesterday (February 5) is on a proposed voluntary Smoke-free zone that would initially run as a pilot for six months, and cover the main pedestrianised areas in the town centre, including around Bexleyheath Clock Tower.

Local residents and anyone who works within the proposed zone are invited to share their views in an online survey before Friday March 16.

Healthwatch will also be carrying out surveys in the town centre once a week over the six week period, from 10am to 4pm.

If a zone is introduced, Bexley would also become the first London Borough to have a smoke-free pedestrian zone.

Children’s playgrounds managed by the council are already smoke-free zones, indicated by clear ‘No Smoking’ symbols on signage throughout the playgrounds.

Cllr Peter Craske, cabinet member for community safety, environment and leisure, said: “We want to hear from people who shop, work or visit Bexleyheath on their views on whether we should have a smoke-free zone in the town centre.”

Dr Anjan Ghosh, Bexley’s director of public health, said: “Research has shown that even pre-school children who live with a smoker perceive that smoking is “the norm”.

“By urging people not to smoke in a busy public area that is frequented by school children, Bexley will support the government’s Tobacco Control Plan for a future smoke-free generation.”

Free Stop Smoking Services were made available in Bexley for the first time in 2002.

At the time, 28% of all Bexley residents were smokers, and today this figure has shrunk to just 12.5 per cent (pc) - the lowest rate of smokers in one area, in the whole of south east London.

Around 2,000 people a year sign up to the free six-week quit programme, with over half managing to successfully quit for good.

Bexley’s Stop Smoking Service offers free, friendly and effective practical support, and is available to anyone registered with a Bexley GP.

To find out more visit www.smokefreebexley.co.uk or search ‘Smokefree’.

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