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Council Leader calls for common sense over smoking ban!

February 16, 2007 9:37 PM

Leader of Rochdale Council - Councillor Alan Taylor has called for 'common sense' and 'sensitivity' when implementing the Council's new 'Smoke Free Policy' on 'any building that is wholly owned, leased or operated and occupied by Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council including the grounds' This was agreed at a meeting of the Council's Cabinet.

At a meeting of the Borough's Cabinet, it was decided that 'Rochdale should lead by example by making sure all its properties are 'smoke free' This was after calls to exempt cemeteries from the Council's proposals.

Councillor Alan Taylor told the meeting, "It is vital that we set an example to the people of this Borough and it would be wrong to exempt anywhere from this and send the wrong message to the people of the Borough. We are acutely aware that it would be difficult to police in places like our cemeteries but the smoking ban needs to be enforced sensitively and with common sense in cases like this. I don't want to force a grieving friend or relative to stop, but there is a difference with that and Council Staff smoking and that is the reason we will not be exempting cemeteries from the ban."

Councillor Taylor continued, "I welcome this proactive move from the Council, Rochdale Borough Council is the biggest employer in the area and we need to protect our staff. I also welcome the fact that all entrances to our buildings will now be protected from smokers and all Council vehicles are smoke free at all times. I was a 60 a day smoker for many years and eventually gave up, but I feel that a hard line from the Council will persuade people to give up. We don't want to come across all Big Brother, but the Rochdale Borough has an above national average of smokers. The health benefits are immense; if I had not given up when I did then I probably wouldn't be here now to be strict on this."