Brussels considers cigarette ban in parks after unofficial campaign launched

Brussels considers cigarette ban in parks after unofficial campaign launched
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An unofficial campaign pushing for “cigarette-free” parks in Brussels has prompted authorities to consider implementing a cigarette ban in the city’s green areas.

Around a dozen signs with the message “smoke-free park” written in Dutch, French and English were seen hanging on the gates around Brussels’ Parc Royal.

In smaller type, the message: “If we see you smoking, we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate measures,” is also written on the signs.

Both local and regional authorities said they are not responsible for the campaign and that they did not know the person or group responsible for organising it, La Dernière Heure reports.

While the unofficial nature of the campaign means the ban is not enforceable, Brussels city councillor Zoubida Jellab said authorities were mulling following through with a ban.

“It’s not our initiative and we don’t know who put the signs up, but I share their opinion,” Jellab, who is responsible for the city’s green spaces, told the Francophone daily.

“[A cigarette ban] is part of the projects that we are thinking of launching this year,” she said, adding that officials were still studying how such a measure could be enforced and what shape a potential campaign would take.

The campaign follows increased measures to fight cigarette pollution in Brussels, with the fine for throwing a cigarette butt on the ground raised from €50 to €200 as of 2020.

It also comes after the Flemish city of Mechelen last year introduced a ban on smoking in Vrijbroek park, creating two areas for smokers in an effort to reduce children’s exposure to cigarette smoke.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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