Smoke-free zone set to be introduced in Ilford town centre

Smoking. Picture: Sean Dempsey/PA

Smoking. Picture: Sean Dempsey/PA - Credit: PA

A smoke-free zone is set to be introduced in Ilford as part of a bid to reduce the number of smokers in the borough.

The implementation of the zones into Redbridge has been recommended in a report looking at the impact of addiction and tackling it.

The borough's health and wellbeing board published its annual public health report ahead of a meeting next week.

The report says more than one in ten adults living in the borough are smokers and that smoking costs the borough £4 million a year in adult social care costs, £29 million in lost productivity and £9 million in health service costs.

It also assesses the impact of drug, alcohol and gambling addiction, with 12 recommendations focusing around the areas of licensing, regulation and enforcement, community education and resilience, families and ensuring children get the best start in life and providing support for those in need.

One of these is the implementation of smoke-free zones, which the report says will be aimed at protecting children, pregnant women and people most at risk of harm from second-hand smoke.

It says: "We need to create a well-regulated and community-friendly environment where young people and those at higher risk of addiction are not over-exposed to addictive substances, behaviours and harms."

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Cllr Mark Santos, cabinet member for health, social care, mental health and ageing, said reducing the number of smokers in the borough is "very high" on the public health agenda.

He added: "We will be introducing a voluntary smoke-free zone in Ilford town centre and we're asking people to be civic-minded and not light up in the designated areas, which will be clearly marked.

"Importantly, children will see less smoking around them, a key step towards creating a generation where smoking is not the norm.

"The approach we are proposing is one that will rely on the goodwill of residents and visitors. This is a simple measure that supports our ambition of a child and family friendly borough and complement the overall regeneration programme for the town centre."

The report will be discussed at a meeting of the health and wellbeing board on Monday.