Brussels pushes for smoking ban on Europe’s beaches

Anyone who has ever walked along a beautiful sandy beach to see someone in front of you casually drop a fag end into a watery pool – or even the sea itself – will be silently singing over news that Europe’s health commissioner is pushing for a smoking ban on all member-state beaches.

Of course, smokers themselves may be seething – interpreting the move as yet another clamp-down on what they see as their ‘civil rights’.

But commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis thinks “everyone should be working to make Europe a tobacco-free zone”.

Talking at the VII tobacco and health conference in Porto yesterday, he said the EU is intent on banning smoking in various open spaces, not just beaches.

Children’s playgrounds, sports grounds, you name it, EU health watchdogs are against a practice that is still killing six million people worldwide every year.

Europe’s response will be to introduce a ‘new minimum age’ for allowing smoking – hoping to push the dangers more effectively in schools – and trying to make electronic cigarettes only available in chemists, as they should be seen as a way to give up smoking, says Andruikaitis, not a way to continue.

On the subject of vaping, Andruikaitis “congratulated” Portugal on the fact that it has been one of the first member states to “prohibit products with attractive flavours”.

“Tobacco should be tobacco”, he told his audience. “It doesn’t not need to smell like perfume or lipstick, as this encourages children to start smoking”.

Portugal is currently in 15th position in the ranking of 35 countries that ‘control smoking’, reports national tabloid Correio da Manhã.

Britain leads the ranking, followed by Ireland and Iceland.

Portugal used to occupy the 24th slot, CM adds.

For now, however, Andruikaitis’ plan is only a ‘plan’. Although CM’s front page story today says in large letters: “Smoking on the beach is going to be prohibited”, there is no date on the horizon – so this year, as always, Portugal’s beaches will be offering smokers hand-held cigarette cups (see image) in the hope that fag ends do not end up in the sand.

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