The former Public Health Minister, Tessa Jowell MP today urged Boris Johnson to ban smoking in London’s parks and squares for the ‘health of Londoners’.
Speaking to London Live the MP for Dulwich and West Norwood said she believes the recommendations made in Lord Darzi’s report should be taken seriously by the Mayor.
With particular attention paid to the recommendation to ban smoking in many of London’s parks.
Drawing comparisons with a similar scheme in New York she said that ‘there was a bit of a fuss to begin with and now it’s normalised’.
She added she hoped a similar reaction could be seen here in London.
Dame Tessa, who is seen by many as Labour’s Mayoral front runner, said by banning smoking in public areas such as Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square and the Royal Parks it would prevent children from taking up smoking.
Keen to see the recommendations implemented as soon as possible, she said she didn’t want to see delaying tactics by the Mayor and insisted that Mr Johnson used his authority to introduce the changes.
“You have the power to do this, by doing this you will reduce the number of children who take up smoking and you will reduce the number of smoking related deaths in London,” she said.
“Do it for the health of Londoners.”
But she added such a ban would not completely solve the problem of childhood smoking and other measures would also have to be introduced to have a significant impact.
Criticising the current Mayor’s use of his public health powers, she said they were ‘grossly underutilised’ and this was an opportunity to correct that shortfall.