A SMOKING ban could be introduced on beaches and in parks across Brighton and Hove.

Plans have been drawn up to hold a consultation asking whether people support a move to extend smoke-free areas across the city.

The aim is to try to create an environment free from second hand smoke, which is particularly dangerous for children.

Youngsters are at higher risk of respiratory infections, asthma, bacterial meningitis and cot death.

A voluntary smoking ban already exists in the city’s children’s playgrounds and the proposed consultation is to gauge whether there is wider public support for extending the smoke free areas.

Brighton and Hove City Council’s health and wellbeing board will consider a report looking at the benefits of establishing more smoke free public areas on Tuesday (july 21).

Despite many residents giving up smoking or not taking it up in the first place, it is still one of the city’s leading causes of premature death.

Board chairman Daniel Yates said: “The health benefits of smoke free areas and protecting children from second-hand smoke are well established.

“We’re keen to keep people safe from the effects of smoking in public areas, especially children who are most vulnerable.

“However we also want to ensure any measures taken have support of residents in the city.”

The areas being proposed to become smoke free, following consultation, are locations where children are most likely to be present, especially during school holidays at times when the parks and beaches are busiest.

Brighton and Hove director of public health, Tom Scanlon, said: “Tobacco smoke typically contains more than 170 toxins including carcinogens and air pollutants.

“Outdoor tobacco smoke dissipates more quickly than indoor smoke but in certain concentrations and weather conditions it still poses an additional health risk to non-smokers.

Director of the smokers’ group Forest, Simon Clark, said: "Extending the smoking ban to parks and beaches is an unwarranted attack on people's personal freedom.”

If approved the consultation will run for 12 weeks from July 22.