Smoking ban coming to a public house near you?

It looks like it’s only a matter of time before pubs in Britain and NI follow the example of the ROI and become smokefree. Will it be as smooth a transition?

Majority of MPs ‘support pub smoking ban’

Have your say in the government’s consultation

Matthew Tempest and agencies
Monday August 15, 2005

More than two-thirds of MPs want the government to go further than its planned anti-smoking legislation and ban smoking in all pubs, a survey found today.

The government is consulting on legislation to outlaw smoking in all licensed premises which serve food, leaving private members’ clubs and those pubs serving just peanuts and crisps unaffected.

However, according to a poll of MPs conducted for the anti-smoking groups Cancer Research UK and Action on Smoking and Health (Ash), there is a cross-party consensus for a complete ban, similar to those introduced in New York and Ireland and soon to be brought in in Scotland. Doctors and anti-smoking campaigners are hoping that ministers will change their minds and opt for an outright ban.

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The survey of 140 MPs from all parties found that 69% would support a smoke-free law covering all workplaces – including pubs – without the exemptions currently proposed.

More than three-quarters (77%) agreed that a widespread smoke-free law would make it more pleasant to visit public places.

And 75% believed that smoking in workplaces ought to be prohibited to prevent people acting in a way that might harm others.

Some 91% agreed that the government had a responsibility to try to make people’s lives healthier by actively discouraging smoking.

The survey found that support for a smoke-free law had risen sharply since the last parliament, with just 51% of MPs surveyed last year in favour.

The survey included 80 Labour MPs, 45 Conservatives, 22 Liberal Democrats and six MPs from smaller parties in order to reflects the make-up of the Commons.

Campaigners now believe that the vast majority of responses to the government’s consultation, which ends on September 5, will back a comprehensive ban, dropping the current exemptions.

Jean King, Cancer Research UK’s director of tobacco control, said: “Support for comprehensive smoke-free legislation is strong among MPs, and continues to grow.

“Many recent opinion polls have shown high public support for the measure, and it has been popular in Ireland.

“The government cannot ignore the majority voice of people and politicians. Introducing legislation with exemptions and loopholes would deny protection to the many thousands of workers in the hospitality industry who are currently exposed to high levels of second-hand smoke.”

Deborah Arnott, director of Ash, said it was clear from the survey that most MPs – along with most members of the public – now wanted a comprehensive smokefree law.

“This is a critical and overdue public health reform,” she said.

“It will protect the health of workers and members of the public in currently smoke-filled workplaces. It will encourage many smokers to quit their lethal habit. It will save thousands of lives.

“Patricia Hewitt must find the political will to follow the Scottish and Irish example.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “The proposal in the white paper to make smoke-free bars and pubs that prepare and serve food was based on many factors.

“Public opinion was crucial to the decision that was made and showed that the public were far less supportive of measures to make all bars and pubs smoke-free.

“We are currently consulting on the proposals in the white paper before legislation goes to parliament, and we will look carefully at all the evidence put forward.”

Forest, the smokers’ lobby group, have launched a public awareness campaign aimed at rejecting a statutory ban in favour of more no-smoking zones and better ventilation, which they say it the public’s preferred choice.

According to the government, smoking causes more than 100,000 deaths in the UK each year while treating smoking-related diseases costs the NHS about £1.7bn annually.

  • Brendan

    I would actually like to see a ban on smoking in public places. I find it very simple to refrain from smoking when I am sober, but if I am drinking it becomes hard to resist. I think I would find it easier to quit smoking if it was banned in pubs, clubs and restaurants.

  • circles

    In other news, a bag of rice fell over in China.

    I see a fourth man was shot today as part of the ongoing “loyalist” feud.
    I’m bracing myself for the roars of condemnation coming from all sides, and for the DUP to become proactive in bringing about the end of them.

  • beano;

    Circles: “The madness has to stop”

    back on topic:
    I’m very in favour of an outright ban but I have to wonder, in response to ” treating smoking-related diseases costs the NHS about £1.7bn annually.”
    How much does tobacco duty raise for the exchequer?

    “I find it very simple to refrain from smoking when I am sober, but if I am drinking it becomes hard to resist. I think I would find it easier to quit smoking if it was banned in pubs, clubs and restaurants.”
    Like so many I know. If I was older I could say “In my day we had a thing called willpower,” but I’m not so I won’t.

  • bertie


  • maca

    “How much does tobacco duty raise for the exchequer?”

    How much?

  • maca

    Just to add to the debate:

    According to “South West Public Health Observatory” in the year 2000 the tobacco industry generated over £950 million for the exchequer. Compare that to the 1.7bn.

    Plus according to the “THE SMOKING, HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE (SCOTLAND) ACT 2005 (PROHIBITION OF SMOKING IN CERTAIN PREMISES) REGULATIONS 2005: DRAFT” in Scotland they assume “a reduction in consumer expenditure on tobacco would be offset by an increase in expenditure elsewhere in the economy with broadly equivalent macroeconomic effects”

    According to a pre-ban RTE report the smoking ban in Ireland would cost €944m pa yet according to INO “It costs the Irish exchequer €1 billion pa to provide health service for smokers”.

  • Brendan

    “Like so many I know. If I was older I could say “In my day we had a thing called willpower,” but I’m not so I won’t.”

    What’s the old adage that one often hears in the petty sessions “When the drink’s in, the wit’s out?”

  • circles

    Thanks for that Beano!

  • circles

    Thanks for that Beano!

  • Amicus

    “£950 million for the exchequer. Compare that to the 1.7bn.”
    This 1.7 billion, would that be real billions, i.e. 1 million raised to the power two, or, would it be the “New Billion” which is something different altogether, altogether? Just asking.
    Regards, Amicus

  • maca

    SWPHO Contacts page:

  • Nick O’ Teen

    This debate recalls the old Yes Minister joke about the money saved on pensions foregone by prematurely dead smokers. Come on folks, don’t get bogged down in the numbers, this is about the rights of non-smokers to avoid others’ smoke, and may have the happy by-product of reducing smoking overall.

  • Macswiney

    I am in Donegal every other week and the smoking ban works really well. Most people have got into the habit of nipping outside for a puff. Some bars have outside ‘conservatory’ type ares where smokers can head to, but the ban is generally observed without question. As a former smoker, I can see both sides of the argument, but I have to say it is generally a far more pleasant experience with the ban in place.

  • Dandyman

    I agree. I’m a smoker and have a girlfriend but I tell you what, for single unattached guys who smoke this thing is a godsend. It is so much easier to chat women up in a smoking area with less noise and less people around, I wish they’d brought it in years ago.

  • Jo

    Well, no single unattached guy who smokes is gonna chat me up in a smoking area….they can all cough and splutter and absorb sidestream smoke together and give the rest of us a break!

  • Ricardo


    The even have a word for it – ‘smirting’

    Comes from smoking/flirting I’m guessing