More than four out of five people in Greater Manchester would support compulsory smokefree places such as playgrounds, areas close to schools and nurseries, and hospital grounds.

The finding comes from the major region-wide ‘History Makers’ consultation, from which results have been announced alongside details of Greater Manchester’s largest ever programme of summer smokefree events.

Launched by Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, in February of this year, the History Makers consultation is the biggest ever survey of its kind. More than 7,500 people contributed their views on smoking, which kills 4,500 people in Greater Manchester every year.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said:

“We’ve already come a long way in cutting rates of smoking in Greater Manchester, and in many places smoking is no longer the norm.

“But we still have serious health and wealth gaps between communities, and also between the North and the South of the country. That’s why we are going further still with tackling smoking and working towards Making Smoking History.

“These Smokefree Summer events are a really positive way for people to experience smokefree outdoor areas, and to feel the benefits of what a smokefree future will look like.”

It found an overwhelming majority support the creation of permanent outdoor smokefree zones and want to ‘Make Smoking History’ in Greater Manchester. Crucially, these views are shared by the majority of both smokers and non-smokers.

The History Makers consultation results reveal:

  •  Overall 79.2% people want to ‘Make Smoking History’ (including 52.4% of smokers surveyed).
  • 85.7% want to extend smokefree outdoor spaces, with most ‘strongly’ agreeing (51.5% of smokers agree)
  • More than 90% of people want to extend smokefree spaces around school and nursery entrances, as well as in playgrounds
  • 82% want smokefree hospital grounds and 79% want any building entrance and exit to be smokefree
  • 83% agree that people who smoke should be supported to quit and warned about the dangers of smoking
  • 84% agree that tobacco should be licensed (69% of smokers)

You can view the full results here – History Makers survey results

The massive support for smokefree spaces – largely to protect children and the environment – has shaped this year’s Smokefree Summer programme, featuring outdoor events across all ten local authorities. These include music festivals, outdoor theatre showings, family carnivals, sports events and a national play day.

Longer-term, the findings will guide leaders on next steps as Greater Manchester aims to make reality its ambition of Making Smoking History within a generation.

Leigh Webber, a cancer survivor and former smoker from Trafford, said:

“I am excited by the level of support the people of Greater Manchester have expressed for Making Smoking History and smokefree outdoor spaces

“We need to really pull together to prevent any young person from taking up smoking and provide whatever is needed to help smokers to quit for good. I look forward to enjoying Smokefree Summer and urge anyone still smoking to seek help.”

Sarah Price, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership’s Director for Population Health, said:

“Smokefree environments help everyone feel better. Even outside, there’s a risk from breathing in second-hand smoke, particularly for children. And with cigarette butts littering our outdoor areas, there’s also the environmental cost.

“The Smokefree Summer events have been created to give people the smokefree spaces they’ve told us they want, while helping us to understand the way forward for more permanent smokefree zones.”

Sandra Green, cyclist and a ‘face’ of the History Makers campaign from Wigan, said:

“I feel passionately that as individuals and communities we can create history by ending all harm from smoking.

“My experience of leading a cycling group for women has shown me how much we can achieve if we pull together and support each other.”

For more information on the Smokefree Summer events click here

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