115 Views

The Big Debate: Should Smoking be Banned on Brighton Beach?

While Brighton and Hove Council considers banning smoking on its famous beach, The Badger asks whether the plan ought to, or not, go ahead…

Yes – Daniel Green

The proposed ban on smoking along Brighton beach is not, as some may argue, an attack on civil liberties. Instead, it is a natural extension of the Council’s existing ban on smoking in playgrounds across Brighton.

It is widely accepted that exposure to second-hand smoke poses a significant health risk, especially for children and pregnant women, who can suffer from lung infections, asthma and miscarriage. During the summer months, when many flock to the seafront, it can be impossible to avoid second-hand smoke.

Why should families who want to bring their children to the beach have to put up with a small minority who want to blow harmful toxic chemicals into the air? Turning Brighton’s beachfront smoke-free would not only improve air quality but also reduce litter. Cigarette butts which are discarded do not degrade quickly and instead harm local wildlife and leech carcinogens into the ocean.

Many have claimed that the voluntary nature of the proposed ban would make such a move impotent. However, the current bans on smoking in playgrounds are also on a voluntary basis and are widely accepted by parkgoers. In addition, a poll conducted in July found that a plurality of residents agree with the proposals, with 48% believing that such a move would make the town a more attractive place to visit.

Pro-smoking organisations, such as FOREST, have protested that extending the smoking ban is ‘illiberal’ and infringes upon their rights. However, those who don’t smoke also have the right not to be put at risk by second-hand smoke.

Additionally, pro-rights campaigners have claimed that it is wrong to ‘de-normalise’ smoking as it is not an illegal act. However, I would argue that smoking has already been de-normalised because of the very fact that smokers are now in the minority and have been for a long time.

Furthermore, the beach smoking ban would help smokers by increasing the pressure on them to quit and they would no doubt be thankful in the long-term. Indeed, surveys have shown that the majority of smokers want to quit, so why shouldn’t the council proactively encourage them to do so by limiting the areas in which they can light up?

Finally, the beach smoking ban should be implemented without delay in order to improve the health of Brighton’s citizens and visitors and also to send out the right message to thousands of children and young people who deserve to grow up in a smoke-free environment.

No – Daniel Stuart

The benefits of a beach smoking ban are obvious. Preventing the problems of second hand smoking for others on the beach, the littering of cigarette butts and not exposing children to the idea of smoking are all undeniably good things for society.

However, without pointing out the hypocrisy of those who wilfully bare themselves in the face of ultra-violet radiation complaining about the carcinogenic effects of smoking, there are reasons why the ban is a challenging idea. The pot and the kettle may be in an all too familiar situation but that doesn’t make the calls for a ban wrong.

Really, the question is more of could smoking be banned as opposed to should it be. Whilst in principle banning smoking on the beach would lead to a cleaner air and environment, the practicalities present potent issues.

Chiefly, the question is how to enforce such a ban and what would the repercussions be? In comparison to the ban in public places, there are no staff who cover the area in great enough detail at least to add this to one of their duties unlike in restaurants and other public buildings.

The two solutions to this are both impractical and unwanted. One solution would be with manpower which would mean increasing the police presence. The other would be with increasing the CCTV presence but both would be of a huge cost to a council with an already stretched public budget.

Moreover, increasing the police or CCTV presence would turn a relaxing trip to the beach into something akin to an Orwellian nightmare. Also, large enough coverage to fully incorporate the beach would certainly be piggy backed for more sinister purposes.

Imagine beaches under constant surveillance, with droves of officials handing out on-the-spot fines, ensuring that every beachgoer is in rank and file. Whilst I may be being slightly dramatic, the prospective enforcement would be a little unsettling.

Let alone the issue of actually finding a punishment to fit the crime. Ejection from the beach is somewhat impractical, given the size of the British coastline. Furthermore, where would the boundary be drawn inland, how far would you have to go to remove the impact upon other beachgoers from a cigarette?

Criminal punishments such as cautions would seem harsh for a minor offence such as that. Therefore, previous precedents would suggest that fines would be the solution. The fine itself couldn’t be so small that it was no deterrent and not ludicrously large. Again however, you would need a presence to impose the punishment.

The other practical issue is the fact that unlike restaurants and shops, the beach is a very public area, open 24/7 to clubgoers and families alike at different parts. To enforce the ban, a 24 hour presence is needed to make sure that the ban is fully effective environmentally. This again is impractical due to lack of manpower, and a large waste of resources for the police or other enforcement officials.

All of this presents the ban as a difficult problem. Despite my hyperbole of this opening the door to Big Brother, the benefits do make sense. I would propose two real alternatives:

Firstly, there could a separation, as opposed to an exclusion of smokers. Much like in restaurants previously, there could be smoking areas that are designated to allow children and those who are opposed to smoking to not receive the effects, but meaning that smokers do not feel like their liberties have been impacted.

Secondly, an increased litter picking force to remove cigarette butts. Nobody enjoys having to sit amongst other people’s rubbish, which adds to the fact that they can be damaging to wildlife and unpleasant in the sea. Litter pickers would redress the balance between grains of sand and cigarette butts on the beach.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
249 views1
Campus News
249 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu
Artist Focus
53 views
Artist Focus
53 views

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - May 16, 2018

Last week artist Fedilou made her debut exhibition in the downstairs space of Morelli Zorelli, a quaint vegan Italian restaurant in Hove, featuring a collection of intimate…

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley
Interview
36 views
Interview
36 views

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley

Nikolaos Manesis - May 15, 2018

Ron Chrisley is a Reader in Philosophy, on the faculty of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, and is the director of COGS (Centre for Cognitive Science).…

Adam review
Arts
81 views
Arts
81 views

Adam review

Ketan Jha - May 13, 2018

If you have been a stranger to the stage this spring and decide to see one contemporary show, let it be Adam. This reviewer went in entirely…

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
71 views
Arts
71 views

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 13, 2018

In celebration of iconic Brighton local, legendary alt-rock musician (and episodic actor) Nick Cave, TOM’s Film Club are hosting a double-bill screening of his films at The…

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review
Arts
86 views
Arts
86 views

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review

Georgia Grace - May 11, 2018

Meta-theatricality and interactivity are becoming all the more vogue in contemporary theatre, and in a world where the arts are becoming increasingly open and democratised, I find…

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks
Artist Focus
80 views
Artist Focus
80 views

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks

Alex Leissle - May 9, 2018

  [gallery type="slideshow" ids="35385,35386,35387,35388,35389,35390,35391,35392,35393,35394,35395,35396,35397,35398,35399,35400,35401,35402,35403,35404,35405,35406,35407,35408,35409,35410,35411"]

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival
Books
67 views
Books
67 views

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival

William Singh - May 9, 2018

Afua Hirsch’s 2018 book - part memoir, part polemic - provokes mixed feelings. So too did her discussion of the topic at this year’s Brighton Festival. Don’t…

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality
Science
101 views
Science
101 views

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality

Luke Richards - May 8, 2018

Bioweapons exist, while ethnic-bioweapons are whispered conspiracies. Pandemics can fairly hazardous to human life, the 1918 Flu Pandemic killed 20-50 million people. A man made pandemic could…

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced
News
143 views
News
143 views

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced

Jessica Hubbard - May 4, 2018

Students have voted to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, reject Prevent and adopt new Gender Equality policies. Results for the Students' Union referenda were…

Why I’m Jewish AND I support BDS
Comment
141 views
Comment
141 views

Why I’m Jewish AND I support BDS

Sarah McIntosh - May 2, 2018

The idea of a land where my religious identity is welcomed and where I feel safe to be myself and live in peace is a beautiful idea…

Student research happening at Sussex
Features
126 views
Features
126 views

Student research happening at Sussex

Nikolaos Manesis - May 1, 2018

(Image source: Flickr, Pixabay, Wikipedia) Another academic year is coming to a close and with it, the last edition of The Badger. To celebrate our last science…

Sussex Festival cancelled
Campus News
176 views
Campus News
176 views

Sussex Festival cancelled

Jordan Wright - April 30, 2018

The Students’ Union have cancelled their highly anticipated end-of-term event Sussex Festival: Desert Island Disco, which was due to begin on Saturday May 12th. The Students’ Union…

Students’ Union President Gustafsson and Liberate the Debate respond to the cancelled event
Comment
193 views
Comment
193 views

Students’ Union President Gustafsson and Liberate the Debate respond to the cancelled event

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

These comment pieces represent the opinions of both the Students' Union and Liberate the Debate with regards to the  recent cancellation of the Society's freedom of speech…

Artist Focus: Rory Hinshelwood
Artist Focus
131 views
Artist Focus
131 views

Artist Focus: Rory Hinshelwood

Louisa Hunt - April 25, 2018

Rory Hinshelwood studies Zoology with Spanish at Sussex. His brand is called Poplar St., at the moment the brand sell embroidered high-quality t-shirts. Rory works mostly in graphics…

Artist Focus: Maayan Cohen
Artist Focus
95 views
Artist Focus
95 views

Artist Focus: Maayan Cohen

Emma Phillips - April 24, 2018

The Badger spoke with Sussex University’s Maayan Cohen about her creative workshop, ‘Bits and Pieces.’ Can you tell us a bit about Bits and Pieces- what’s the…

Voodoo enthralls at The Old Market – review
Arts
105 views
Arts
105 views

Voodoo enthralls at The Old Market – review

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - April 24, 2018

As part of South East Dance’s micro-festival, Undisciplined, Voodoo comes to being as a collaboration between South East Dance and Project O. Project O brings artists Alexandrina…

Arts
108 views

Trial & error: Sex, sass and foolishness through dance

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - April 24, 2018

For the concluding show of South East Dance’s micro-festival, Double Bill brings two short performances to The Old Market’s stage: Comebacks I thought of later by Eleanor…

An evening with Candoco Dance Company – review
Arts
166 views
Arts
166 views

An evening with Candoco Dance Company – review

Georgia Grace - April 24, 2018

Last week at the Attenborough Centre, the phenomenally unique and refreshing dance company Candoco brought to the stage a double bill of performances exploring identity, community and…

Jake Bugg at Brighton Dome
Arts
158 views
Arts
158 views

Jake Bugg at Brighton Dome

Matthew Nicholls - April 19, 2018

Following the release of his Fourth Studio album ‘Hearts that Strain’ in September 2017, Jake Bugg decided he wanted an intimate tour, and that is exactly what…