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Smoking will be banned in Manchester’s new outside seating areas

Bad news for smokers…

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The new temporary outdoor seating and drinking spots in the city centre are set to be smoke-free.

The government has recently passed a new law that calls for bars and restaurants to provide smoking and non-smoking areas in the new outdoor terraces to avoid sleepwalking ‘from one health crisis to another’.

The outdoor drinking and dining spots recently opened up to help the hospitality get back on its feet and they’ve proved massively popular amongst Mancunians. 

But Manchester City Council is now implementing a new rule which means all outdoor areas will be smoke-free. 

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Executive member for Neighbourhoods, Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar told the MEN: “Smoking is not only terrible for our health but is also an unpleasant thing for bystanders to endure.

“I am sure that after months inside the last thing people want is a face full of smoke when trying to enjoy a meal or drink.”

Symptoms of the respiratory virus, Covid-19, can be more severe and even critical in those that have a history of smoking, according to a study. This study concluded that ‘smoking is a risk factor for the progression of Covid-19’, with smokers being twice as likely to develop severe symptoms. 

Another study concluded that although a small number of smokers are less likely to test positive for Covid-19 than non-smokers, they are more likely to report more serious symptoms. 

A study done at the University of Oxford has suggested that there is ‘biological plausibility’ that smoking may actually be having a protective effect against coronavirus with nicotine blocking the receptors the virus uses to get into your cells.

Manchester also has one of the worst rates for lung cancer and cardiovascular disease registrations in the UK.

The national average for smokers over the age of 18 is 13%, this number stands at 18% in Manchester between 2017 and 2019. 

The council are taking this opportunity to help combat Manchester’s smoking problem which sees 6,000 smoking-related hospital admissions a year. 

Councillor Akbar continued: “The introduction of outside seating for the hospitality sector has been a positive step over the past few weeks.

“We are seeing the public enjoy a degree of normality, and we are also seeing our businesses pick up following the devastating impact of the lockdown. However, we have not endured one health crisis to sleepwalk into another.

“We know that in Manchester there are still too many people smoking and we want to play our part to ensure that the city is a place where smoking is not a cultural norm.”

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The BBC reported that more than one million people have quit smoking since the start of the pandemic, with at least 41% saying it was in direct response to coronavirus. 

In 2019, there were seven million smokers in the UK so there is still considerably more to be done. 

Public Health England’s guidance states: “There is strong evidence that smoking tobacco is generally associated with an increased risk of developing respiratory viral infections.

“Smoking causes damage to the lungs and airways and harms the immune system, reducing your ability to fight infection.”

Is the new smoking-ban welcomed news to you? Let us know! 

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Marcus Rashford calls for guarantee free school meals will continue over summer holidays

Well done Marcus!

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Marcus Rashford is calling for a guarantee that the free school meal scheme will continue over the upcoming summer holidays.

The Manchester United star forced the government to U-turn on the issue last year, and is once again calling on ministers to keep the support going over the holidays.

Rashford relied on free school meals when he was growing up, saying that if his family had received help in the summer it would have made a ‘massive, massive difference’.

Marcus Rashford / Twitter

During the lockdown school closures last year vouchers were offered, but the government had resisted calls to continue the coupons – worth £15 a week – over the summer until Rashford got involved and piled pressure on ministers.

The striker didn’t stop there, also shaming the government into supporting families in need over the holidays in November via a Covid winter grant scheme.

As it stands, since the first lockdown more than 300,000 additional children have become eligible for free school dinners, with the total number of people able to access the scheme rising to 1.63 million in October.

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Rashford told The Mirror: “I definitely think it needs to be extended and the reason why I say that is, I’m just going back to what it was like for me in the summers.

“It’s much more difficult for my mum to keep on top of. Obviously in my household there were four children so as a single parent it was obviously tough for her.

“But when we were all in school or in high school, she can rest a little bit because she knows that we’re having a meal there, and then potentially she only has to worry about one meal, which is dinner time.”

Fairholme Primary School

He continued: “So having free school meals throughout summer holidays for me would have made a massive, massive difference.

“And I feel like what’s happened this year, like the pandemic, it’s affected everyone in different ways.

“I just don’t see there being anything wrong with extending free school meals, like it’s going to do a lot more good than bad so I definitely think that that should happen.”

The footballer isn’t the only one calling for the scheme to continue, with Children’s Commissioner Rachel de Souza also asking for free school meals to be extended into the summer holidays.

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Student suffers severe heart failure after drinking four cans of energy drink a day

‘I believe they are very addictive and far too accessible to young children’

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A young man who consumed two litres of energy drink a day was admitted to intensive care with severe heart failure.

According to a leading medical journal, the university student landed himself in hospital after drinking four cans of energy drink per day.

The 21-year-old spent nearly two months in intensive care due to heart failure, with the British Medical Journal stating this was ‘potentially related to excessive energy drink consumption’ in a report.

According to the report, the man drank four 500ml energy drinks every day for two years, becoming so ill that medics thought he might require an organ transplant.

The patient went on to describe his medical episode as ‘traumatising’, eventually seeking medical help after he suffered from weight loss and shortness of breath for roughly four months.

Daniel Juřena / Flickr

Doctors performed blood tests, scans, and ECG readings, and found that he had both kidney and heart failure – however, the kidney failure was discovered to be linked to a previously undiagnosed condition.

Each energy drink the man was consuming contained around 160mg of caffeine, and medics said that ‘energy drink-induced cardiotoxicity’ was the most likely cause of the severe heart failure.

In the report, the authors from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust wrote: “We report a case of severe biventricular heart failure potentially related to excessive energy drink consumption in a 21-year-old man.”

They said the conclusion to their report ‘adds to the growing concern in the literature about the potential cardiotoxic effects of energy drinks’, adding that the man’s heart function seems to have returned to normal nine months later but with ‘mildly impaired function’.

AlienFood / Wikimedia

The recovered patient added his own thoughts to the article, saying: “When I was drinking up to four energy drinks per day, I suffered from tremors and heart palpitations, which interfered with my ability to concentrate on daily tasks and my studies at university.

“I also suffered from severe migraine headaches which would often occur during the periods when I did not drink energy drink; this also restricted my ability to perform day-to-day tasks and even leisurely activities such as going to the park or taking a walk.”

He added: “I think there should be more awareness about energy drinks and the effect of their contents.

“I believe they are very addictive and far too accessible to young children. I think warning labels, similar to smoking, should be made to illustrate the potential dangers of the ingredients in energy drink.”

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Drivers could soon be fined for parking on the pavement under new rules

Make sure you’re aware of the proposed rule changes

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A ban on parking on the pavement could soon be implemented across England, under new laws which are expected to be rolled out this year.

Parking on pavements would be a thing of the past, with £70 penalty fines for offenders coming into effect under the proposed new rules.

According to reports, the new legislation would see a ban on antisocial parking introduced, in a bid to make pavements safer for people with disabilities and visual impairments, as well as families.

The changes to the law which are being considered have already been implemented in London and would be rolled out nationwide.



They come in response to complaints about pavement parking and the risks it brings with it to those whose use pavements, with the Department for Transport (DfT) initially launching a proposal on the subject in September 2020.

The proposals came after a review discovered that almost half of wheelchair users and a third of visually impaired people were less willing to go out on the streets alone due to ‘antisocial’ parking on the pavement.

A spokeswoman from the DfT explained to The Mirror that the government is currently collating responses after receiving ‘overwhelming’ feedback.

The public consultation period for the proposals ended back on November 22nd, and as such a decision on the plan is expected imminently.

Jaggery / Geograph

However, Mark Tongue, director of Select Car Leasing has said that ‘the guidelines are currently quite confusing for motorists’.

The motoring company conducted a report which discovered that local authorities would have the power to dish out £70 fines if a vehicle was considered an obstruction, even if it was parked outside the driver’s house.

Mr Tongue said: “A pavement parking ban is 100% needed nationwide – anything that puts pedestrians at an increased risk requires action.

“However, the information given so far is slightly confusing for drivers. At the moment, there’s no clear guidelines for those who park on the pavement due to having no room on their own drive. Most households have more than one car, so it will be interesting to see where motorists are expected to park if not on the pavement outside their homes.

“Clear guidance is required for drivers so they know the correct location to park in order to avoid a fine.”

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