BMA demand smoking ban in public places

Using Ireland's recent anti-smoking legislation as a benchmark, BMA Chairman James Johnson today urged the government to follow suit and introduce a smoking ban.

In his address at BMA's fringe meeting at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, Mr Johnston said that Health Secretary John Reid must introduce a total ban on smoking in enclosed public places and emphasised that a ban must include pubs and restaurants.

He said that after six months of anti-smoking legislation in Ireland 96% of pubs are smoke-free, tobacco sales are down, and more than 7,000 smokers have quit successfully.

Meanwhile during the same period in the UK at least 350 workers have died because of second hand smoke. Workers in bars and clubs are most at risk, with just 1% of these smoke-free.

The BMA Chairman acknowledged the individual's right to choice, but argued that when there is 'indisputable evidence of danger to others from unhealthy behaviour', the Government must take action, as with seatbelt and drink driving laws.

Mr Johnson concluded "If people are allowed to smoke in pubs and clubs, and this is the norm, then a major barrier is placed on the individual's power to stop smoking.

"Smokers trying to give up must either resist the temptation of a smoke-filled environment or they must give up their social life along with their cigarettes. And what choice is there for bar workers who are exposed to second-hand smoke levels six times that of office workers?"


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