Smoke-free cities – An international affair


A growing number of cities around the world introduces prohibition on smoking tobacco in public places. Awareness surrounding the negative effects of passive smoking is causing more and more cities globally to work proactively and on a larger scale. Introducing restrictions on tobacco smoking in general domains, since secondary smoking has an negative impact on both individual as well as general environment.

Restrictions on smoking is well known. During the 90s and early 2000 smoking bans were introduced in numerous countries. In restaurants, bars, public transport and federal institutions. Beaches, parks and playgrounds were also included. A smoke-free environment became a positive initiative. A trend adopted by companies and businesses as well. As an obvious health initiative of course, but also underlining corporate social responsibility.

The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) presented by WHO, 2003, introduced an ambition for a common standard and goals for preventive work and better control of tobacco use. A governing document today used by a vast number of countries to guideline pro-active health work concerning smoking and the use of tobacco.

Milan, Italy, is the latest municipality to introduce a smoking ban in public places. In January 2021, the city council approved air quality regulations aimed at improving environmental standards.

“The pandemic has reminded us all how important and fragile our health is”, said Marco Granelli, councillor for mobility and public works at Comune di Milano, who explains he would have moved forward with this measure even without Covid-19. “Milan already suffers from the accumulation of polluting dust. Within the air quality regulation, it was essential to identify and include all effective measures such as the smoking ban, as cigarette smoke is responsible for 7% to 8% of the total CO2 emissions within the city. Something we now are able to act upon”.

And a global trend is obvious. Many cities follow with restrictions and thresholds to a varying extent. At this day more than 160 countries have agreed on a 30% reduction in tobacco use by 2025. Australia, New Zealand and Sweden are, not surprisingly, at the forefront. Leading examples in their quest to become a completely smoke-free nation by the deadline of 2025.

Also, an interesting fact is, how some countries expand on their scope of what is to be defined as tobacco. Future cities such as Cape Town, South Africa, and Christchurch, New Zealand, proclaim e-cigarettes also could be considered as a tobacco product.

Further development to be reported with excitement.

Source: WHO & Citymonitor