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Public health

Outdoor smoking ban mooted by Swedish authority

Smoking outdoors could be banned in Sweden under proposals to be presented to the government in December by Sweden's National Institute of Public Health.

Smoking in Sweden is already outlawed in public buildings, as well as in bars and restaurants.

Speaking to Swedish daily Sydsvenskan however, Matthew Richardson from the insitute said that compared to several countries, Sweden's smoking laws are relatively leniant.

Richardson pointed out that smoking is banned in childrens' playgrounds in Spain, Singapore and the Australian states of Queensland and South Australia. Also in Hong Kong, California, Australia and large sections of the Mediterranean, smoking is an offence on beaches.

The institute is currently evaluating the health risks of cigarette smoke to non-smokers in public places, especially in areas used by children.

Research in the UK has shown that a year after the country introduced anti-smoking legislation in 2007, the number of children admitted to hospital with asthma dropped by some 12 per cent, with experts expressing little doubt that much of the fall was the result of the smoking ban.

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