New guidelines for smoking on beaches will be introduced in Helsinki this summer, directing puffers to new smoking areas on the edge of beaches. However, no actual smoking ban will be enforced.
"Smoking is still possible anywhere at the beach, but we hope that people will go to the areas we have designated," explained Jukka Lundgren, spokesperson for Helsinki city's Culture and Leisure department.
The new measures are being introduced to ensure the comfort of all beachgoers across the city.
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"We are thinking about the comfort of people, mainly families with children, on the beaches. Some people find smoking very unpleasant," said Lundgren.
Regulations to roll-out in coming weeks
The new regulations will be introduced to the beaches of Helsinki within a few weeks as the city still needs time to order and install ashtrays, signpost the new smoking areas, and translate instructions into different languages.
Additionally, lifeguards, cleaners and maintenance personnel will require training in the new regulations. The idea is that smokers on the beach will be asked to move to a designated smoking area, rather than instructed to go there.
Regulations already in place elsewhere
Helsinki is not the first municipality in Finland to introduce smoking regulations on beaches.
The municipality of Sipoo, just east of Helsinki, has restricted smoking at beaches to designated areas. In Espoo, Helsinki's western neighbour, the city council recently launched an initiative which could lead to the banning of smoking at all beaches.
Last year, a working group called 'Smoke Free Finland' established by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health suggested, among other recommendations, that smoking on beaches should be banned throughout the country.