CONTROVERSIAL new plans to ban smoking around any council building to make the council smoke free by 2019 have been agreed.

The plan is to make all council buildings, including leisure centres, libraries and car parks, smoke-free and will include all smoking shelters being removed and staff smoking breaks banned.

The three current main work hubs in County Hall, Bourne Hill in Salisbury and Monkton Park in Chippenham will be the main focus as the scheme is rolled out to improve the health of workers and encourage more people to give up the habit. The NHS has also committed to being smoke free in 2019.

Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable deaths and the council aims to be totally smoke-free by the end of 2020.

Speaking during a debate at a council’s staffing policy meeting, cllr for Cricklade Bob Jones said: “The problem is enforcing this.

"I hate smoking but we have got to be able to enforce the rules we apply.

"We might be able to say to employees they can’t smoke between the times of 9-5 but we can’t control the car parks. It will push them to congregate at the bus stops.”

Councillor for Melksham councillor Hayley Illman said: “I wholeheartedly support this next step in de-normalising behaviour. Yes, it was the norm in the past, but times are changing and we are aware of the impact on people who don’t even smoke.

"We need to look after all residents. In our play areas, for example, we have no smoking signs and it gives members of the public the confidence to say ‘can you not do that’?

"It makes people think of their actions.”

Mary Devers, smoking cessation and tobacco control specialist, said: “Some people may take this opportunity to stop. We know that 60 per cent of people who smoke would like to stop and this might be the incentive the do it. Contractors have told us that not being able to smoke in the area might encourage them to have another go at stopping.”

Chairman of the committee, Cllr Allison Bucknell, said: “We have reached that stage where we need to play our part. "We have a role to play as a council to help promote healthy living and leading healthier lives.”

The motion was passed five votes to three.

To get support on how to quit smoking visit: