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The government will not ban smoking outside restaurants and pubs despite MPs’ efforts

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The government has revealed it will not ban smoking outside restaurants despite pressures from MPs but will expand non-smoking areas.

The House of Lords’ attempt to extend restrictions to outdoor seatings has been denied by the government.

Ministers have said they expect establishments to make ‘reasonable provisions’ for non-smoking areas outside if they want to receive a pavement license. 

As is the case on many Manchester streets, councils across the UK have closed roads and widened pavements to allow more space for diners to aid social distancing and get restaurants, pubs and cafes back open. 

However, an amendment is set to be considered this week to make all pavement licenses issued by councils conditional on outside seating smoke-free. 

Andres Siimon/Unsplash

As part of a compromise by the government, designated areas should have no-smoking signs, no ashtrays and a minimum two-metre distancing between smoking and non-smoking areas where possible. 

Liberal Democrat, Lord German who is supporting the bid said it could be part of a raft of ‘policies that de-normalise’ smoking.

He said: “Why not use this limited opportunity to provide an environment which is not just smoke-free but is healthy for diners and staff alike?”

“The government can demonstrate that they mean business in the challenge to tackle the harm that smoking does the health of the nation?” 

As coronavirus is a respiratory viral infection affecting the lungs and airways, strong evidence suggests smoking tobacco will cause an increased risk in developing the infection and symptoms may be more severe if you smoke and catch coronavirus, according to the NHS.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local government said in a statement that ‘the government will not ban outdoor smoking’. 

It reads: “Since the existing ban was introduced, businesses have invested heavily in their outdoor areas and banning outdoor smoking would lead to significant closures and job losses.

“However, today’s amendment will ensure that customers are given more choice by ensuring premises offer separate seating for smokers and non-smokers outside.” 

The planning minister Christopher Pincher said: “We are supporting our pubs, cafes and restaurants to safely reopen and securing jobs by making it quicker, easier and cheaper to set up outdoor seating and stalls to serve food and drink, whilst protecting public health against the transmission of Covid.

“These changes will allow everyone to enjoy outdoor eating and drinking whether they smoke or not, with appropriate provisions made for non-smokers and smokers”. 

 

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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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AlienFood/Wikimedia & Austin Kirk/Flickr

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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Jaggery / Geograph

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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Operation Forth Bridge: the full plan for what happens next after Prince Philip’s death

Buckingham Palace confirmed the sad news of his passing earlier today

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Michael Garnett / Flickr

Buckingham Palace announced this afternoon that HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh has died.

The 99-year-old, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday in June, passed away peacefully at Windsor Castle this morning, Friday April 9th.

Buckingham Palace said: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

“His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.

“Further announcements will be made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”

There were already strict procedures put in place for when Prince Philip died, which have now begun, and they’re known as Operation Forth Bridge.

According to the plan there are several steps that need to be followed, including everything from national mourning to a burial site for the Duke.

Operation Forth Bridge has been around for many years, with Buckingham Palace, in consultation with both the Queen and Prince Philip, regularly updating and reviewing it.

Part one of the operation was the announcement from Buckingham Palace confirming the death of the Duke, which was distributed to the Press Association and BBC first.

Then the country enters a period of national mourning, meaning a set of rules, like flags being flown at half-mast, must be followed.

According to reports, it’s thought newsreaders and other TV presenters must wear black out of respect.

Jamie McCaffrey / Flickr

Next, plans for the funeral will be drawn up, and while Prince Philip is entitled to a state funeral he reportedly wanted something more discreet – a private service in the style of a military funeral at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, followed by burial at Frogmore Gardens.

The funeral is still expected to be televised despite the current restrictions, although it remains unclear how many people will be able to attend it.

The Queen’s private secretary and senior adviser, Sir Edward Young, will be on hand to help her during the undoubtedly challenging days ahead.

As well as being responsible for supporting the Queen in her duties, Sir Edward is also the channel of communication between the Queen and the government.

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