smokefree beaches

Cigarette butts are the number one most littered items in the world, posing a major threat to the marine environment.

Every year 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are discarded globally, with each one taking up to 12 years to degrade.

ASH Wales believes banning smoking on Wales’ beaches will play a major role in helping to reduce cigarette litter, protect wildlife and prevent young children from being affected by second hand smoke.

Our beautiful beaches

Wales’ beautiful coastline boasts the most beaches with Blue Flag status in the UK.

Since our Smokefree Beaches campaign was launched in 2016, three of Wales beaches’ have introduced voluntary smoking bans, Little Haven in Pembrokeshire and in Swansea, Caswell Bay and Langland Bay.

With the support of the Welsh Government, we are continuing to work with local authorities to make more beaches across the country smoke free.

Why smokefree beaches?

Litter and pollution

4.5 trillion cigarette butts are dropped across the world each year. They are made with a form of plastic called cellulose acetate which takes up to 12 years to biodegrade.

Danger to animals

Danger to animals

Cigarette butts are toxic and filled with deposits of tars and chemicals, which leach out into the sea and poison marine wildlife. Birds and small animals swallow butts, resulting in poisoning, malnutrition and even death.

Young people

Children and young people have the right to play and meet their friends in a clean and healthy environment. Smoking at the beach creates the impression that it is a harmless activity but in reality it kills more than 5,000 people a year in Wales. 

Second-hand smoke

Just as toxic outdoors as it is indoors and depends on wind speed, direction and the number and proximity of smokers. 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible and contains over 4000 chemicals, 69 of which are cancer-causing.

Get Involved

Download our Toolkit

If you’re looking to implement smokefree beaches in your area, download our Smokefree Beaches Toolkit below. This informational toolkit is adaptable for all local authorities across Wales as part of this campaign.

Run a beach cleanup

Organising a beach clean up is the best way to determine the extent of the problem on your local beach. We can offer support to help get our beaches and coastline looking beautiful and ready for everyone to enjoy during the busy summer months.

Public Opinion

Opinion polls show that support for smoke free spaces in Wales is strong.

Our campaign has been supported by environmental groups including the organisation Surfers Against Sewage.

In many other parts of the world smoking bans on beaches have been successfully implemented and with strong  public support, including in Mexico, Japan, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Australia, Canada and, in the US, California, Maine, Massachusetts and New York.  ASH Wales has strong links with public health representatives in other countries and works with them to design campaigns for smoke free beaches.

The Future

We believe that Wales can lead the way in the UK on smokefree spaces. With the support and cooperation of local councils we will make a huge difference to the health of young people and the standard of our beaches.


Who can help me to quit smoking?

Tailored support

Help Me Quit is a new, free NHS service in Wales. They will help you to pick the best way to quit, whether that’s telephone support, one-to-one or group meetings or the local pharmacy. They can also recommend which nicotine replacements, such as patches or gum, are best for you.


Phone: 0800 085 2219 – Text: HMQ to 80818

Online support

Yes, that’s us! Join us on Facebook to get friendly advice from other quitters as well as daily tips and motivation. We also offer quick, online advice on anything to do with smoking or quitting.