Smokers’ group criticises new ban as ‘excessive’

Forest Éireann responds to rules prohibiting smoking and swearing in Waterford parks

A smokers’ group has criticised new by-laws prohibiting smoking in Waterford’s parks, including vaping. File photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

A smokers’ group has criticised new by-laws prohibiting smoking in Waterford’s parks, including vaping. File photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

 

A smokers’ group has criticised a new ban on smoking in Waterford’s public parks, describing the measure as “excessive and unnecessary”.

The Irish branch of Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco (Forest) was responding to the introduction by Waterford City and County Council of by-laws prohibiting smoking and swearing in its parks.

The new rules, designed to discourage anti-social behaviour, will also ban barbecues, gambling, the use of firearms, religious ceremonies, horses, model airplanes among other activities in the county’s parks .

The by-laws were passed by the council last week and will come into effect on July 1st.

Forest, which describes itself as a “smokers’ group” and “the voice and friend of the smoker in Ireland”, today criticised the move, which also includes a ban on the use of e-cigarettes.

“There is nothing anti-social about smoking in a public park,” the group said in a statement.

“There is no risk to anyone else, including children. Most of the time, unless you’re very close, you won’t even be aware they’re doing it.”

E-cigarettes

The group said it “makes even less sense” to ban e-cigarettes.

“Vaping is not smoking, however you look at it. An increasing number of smokers are using e-cigarettes as a harm reduction or smoking cessation aid. Why ban something that some people are using to quit smoking?”

They said there are already laws to deal with loud or repeated profanities in public places.

“These new rules are excessive and unnecessary. The overwhelming majority of people know how to behave in public spaces without being regulated to an inch of their lives.”

Forest Éireann says on its website that it is funded by Forest UK, “which receives donations from tobacco companies in Britain and Ireland”.