Plans for smoking to be banned in Ilford

Do you think smoking should be abnned in Ilford? Picture: Jonathan Brady

Do you think smoking should be abnned in Ilford? Picture: Jonathan Brady - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Ilford town centre could be smoke-free after Redbridge Council unveiled plans to ban lit cigarettes in the shopping vicinity.

To tie in with the Crossrail rejuvenation, which will include a covered outdoor food market, art gallery and businesses support company, the council hope to improve the air quality and health of residents visiting the capital of the borough.

One resident, who wants to remain anonymous for fear of losing his job, thinks the plans are a terrible idea and at the very least a smoking shed should be installed.

“I work a physically demanding and quite frankly mind-numbingly boring job for bad pay,” he said.

“Smoking might be a tax on the lower classes, but it gets me through the week.

“I barely get a decent break as it is, and if they ban smoking I won’t have time to leave Ilford, smoke and come back.

“Sadiq Khan keeps pushing cycling but what you will end up with is grown adults smoking behind bike sheds instead, if this happens.

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“I’m all for not pushing my smoke on others and agree with the indoor smoking ban, but what about my rights, we should have a room or a shed or something.”

He added that since the smoking ban, cigarette users have been “looked down upon in society” and are already ostracised outside.

In the minutes for the health and wellbeing board, a Redbridge Council spokesman said the local authority wants to support residents to maintain a healthy lifestyle by reducing obesity and the proportion of residents who smoke or use tobacco products by “redeveloping behaviour change services at a local level”.

Some of these initiatives include improving the accessibility of smoking cessation support and creating programmes that give smokes motivation to stop.

“(We are on track for a) smoke-free town centre in Ilford as part of Ilford’s regeneration,” said the spokesman.

“There is support from the leader of the council and chief exec to implement the smoke-free zone.

“An options appraisal has been submitted to the programme board to take forward recommendations for implementation.”

Mum of one, Sarah Dancer, suffers from asthma and said she is fed of pushing her child through “clouds of cancer” in Ilford

“I am not against smoking per se, there are obvious health implications but adults can make their own choices,” she said.

“What I am against is inconsiderate smokers who congregate at shop doors, to blow smoke in my face and there is nothing I can do about it.

“Why should my lungs and my child’s lungs be compromised.

“They might think of it as nothing but it makes it hard for me to breathe which isn’t okay.

“Worse still, not all of the smoke is just tobacco, you could probably get high for free walking by the station on some days - I dread to think what my daughter is inhaling.

Pro-smoking group, Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco (Forest), said it opposes a comprehensive ban on smoking.

A spokesman on its website wrote: “We don’t believe that smokers have the right to light up whenever and wherever they want.

“We urge smokers to be considerate to those around them, especially children.

“We do however believe that smokers – who represent one sixth of the adult population – should be accommodated where it’s possible to do so without inconveniencing non-smokers.

“We oppose a comprehensive ban, however, because we believe that, with the help of technology, prohibition is not only illiberal and intolerant, it’s completely unnecessary.

“Good health is very important, but it’s not the only factor in the pursuit of happiness.

“We accept the health risks associated with smoking and other tobacco products and we accept that government has a role to play educating people about those risks, but in a free society freedom of choice and market forces are equally important.”

The spokesman went on to say that the anti-smoking culture that has developed in Britain is profoundly unhealthy because it encourages some people including employers and politicians to openly discriminate against a significant minority of the population.

“Of course we encourage smokers to be considerate to those around them, but many of us live and work in an urban or industrial environment full of car fumes and other pollutants, so why make such a fuss about a tiny bit of tobacco smoke that is massively diluted in the surrounding air?,” he continued.

“In the real world we all have our likes and dislikes and we have to be tolerant of other people’s habits, one of which is smoking.”