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Sweden eyes smoking ban in parks and cars

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Sweden eyes smoking ban in parks and cars
13:41 CET+01:00
Sweden's current ban on smoking in public places could be extended to parks, beaches, as well as people's own cars, according to a proposal under consideration by the Swedish National Institute for Public Health (Folkhälsoinstitutet).

The agency is currently reviewing Sweden's current smoking ban as part of an effort to present a formal proposal to the government in December this year.

Specifically, health authorities are looking at the extent to which smoking should be banned in areas where people are at risk of inhaling second-hand smoke.

"We're especially looking into environments where children are present," Matthew X Richardson, a department head at the agency, told the Sydsvenskan newspaper.

Smoking in Sweden is already banned in bars, schools, hospitals, buses, trains, and planes.

"We're mapping out the environments where people are at risk of passive smoking and we're investigating if more smoke-free environments should be introduced," he added.

Richardson explained that his team was reviewing smoking policies in other countries to best determine how Sweden should set its own laws.

Sweden's smoking laws are more tolerant than many other countries, with Singapore, Spain, and parts of Australia already enforcing smoking bans in public parks.

Smoking on the beach is already forbidden in Hong Kong, California, Australia, and in several places around the Mediterranean.

The agency is also looking at laws in California in the United States, which in 2008 banned smoking in cars with passengers under 18.

But the idea of an extended smoking ban is nothing new to the Swedish government.

Roger Haddad of Sweden's Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) pushed last year for a smoking ban in bus shelters, a law that's already in place in Scotland.

"You shouldn't need to become a passive smoker just because you want to take a bus," he told Sydsvenskan.

Other Swedish politicians have previously proposed a ban on smoking at outdoor eateries and train platforms.

And in 2011, Thomas Strand of the Social Democrats suggested that Swedes should be banned from smoking on their balconies.

TT/The Local/og

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