ASH welcomes smoking free vote

Wednesday 11 January 2006

Media Release:  For Immediate Use, Wednesday 11th January 2006  
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has warmly welcomed the news that the Government is to give all Labour MPs – including Ministers – a free vote on the issue of comprehensive smokefree legislation. An amendment to remove the proposed exemptions from smokefree legislation in the Health Bill for pubs that do not serve prepared food and for membership clubs has been tabled by members of the Health Select Committee. The Conservative Party has already announced a free vote on the issue for its MPs. Comprehensive smokefree legislation is also supported by the Liberal Democrats. The Commons Report Stage of the Health Bill is likely to take place in late January or early February.

The exemptions for non-food pubs and clubs would leave a law that would be difficult to enforce, would fail to protect the health of vulnerable workers exposed to secondhand smoke and would increase health inequalities between different parts of England, because non-food pubs are concentrated in poorer communities.

Cancer Research UK and ASH released a major new poll on the issue in December [1]. For the first time, given a list of specific public places, 66% in England said that all pubs and bars should be smokefree by law.

Commenting, ASH Director Deborah Arnott said:

“We are absolutely delighted that the Government has announced a free vote on smokefree legislation. The public health lobby will work hard between now and the vote to remind MPs of the overwhelming case for a clear and comprehensive smokefree law. We ask every member of the public who cares about this vital health issue to make their views known to their MP. We are confident that we can now secure for all workers and members of the public in England the same protection from secondhand smoke that will soon be enjoyed by people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”


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[1] ASH Press release – December 2005: Major New Poll Shows Public Support Across UK for Comprehensive Smokefree Law




Deborah Arnott                      07976 935987 (m)

Ian Willmore                           07887 641344 (m)