THE majority of people in Scotland think smoking should be banned in playgrounds and many would welcome other outdoor smoke-free places too, according to new research.
A survey found a majority would back a ban in playgrounds and other outdoor areas as well as 40 per cent agreeing a need to ban alcohol in parks.
Campaigners welcomed the findings and said smoking should be put “out of fashion” for the next generation.
The research, commissioned by an online doctor service, found 66 per cent of Scots backed a ban on smoking in playgrounds, with 49 per cent supporting extending restaurant restrictions to outside areas.
But backing for outdoor bans decreased to 40 per cent in parks and just 19 per cent said they would travel further to visit a smoke-free beach.
Dr Nitin Shori, medical director of the Pharmacy2U and an NHS GP, said: “There does appear to be public support more smoking restrictions – particularly where children are likely to be playing. Some parents worry about the impact of breathing in second-hand smoke, while others can be concerned about the litter aspect.
“The popularity of smoking has been on a downward trend since the risks became more widely understood in the 1970s. Smoking is still a major cause of preventable disease and premature deaths in Britain, so health worries tend to be a big driver for patients who decide to quit.
“Its addictive nature means it can be a tough habit to break and although some succeed through willpower alone, others find nicotine replacement or prescription medication is helpful.”
Scotland’s ban of smoking in public places will be a decade old in 2016 and surveys in 2013 showed 70 per cent of smokers wanted to quit. The latest survey suggested 7 per cent of those who tried to stop were spurred on by the current ban.
Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of health charity ASH Scotland, said: “I’m delighted to see that there is public support for more smoke-free public places, in particular for children’s spaces.
“We believe that these restrictions work best when devised in consultation with the community, so that people can have their say and understand what is being achieved.
“The aim is to put smoking out of fashion for the next generation, and smoke-free events and targeted smoke-free public spaces are part of that ambition.”
Brighton and Hove City Council is currently carrying out a public consultation on whether there should be a ban on the area’s beaches and public areas. They already have a voluntary ban in children’s play areas.
Smoking in cars carrying children will be banned in England from October 1 but Scotland is still considering a private member’s bill on the issue.