BMA survey shows need for government to drop pub exemption from smokefree law



Thursday 12 May 2005

MEDIA RELEASE: Immediate Use, Thursday 12th May 2005
BMA SURVEY SHOWS NEED FOR GOVERNMENT TO DROP PUB EXEMPTION FROM SMOKEFREE LAW

 

The survey released today by the British Medical Association has undermined the case for exempting pubs which do not serve prepared food from the Government’s proposed smokefree law.

 

In its November 2004 Public Health White Paper, the Government estimated the number of pubs in this group as between 10% and 30% of the total. There are about 55,000 pubs in England and Wales. However, the BMA evidence shows that of 29 Councils surveyed, 13 had more than 30% of their pubs in this group. In Leeds the figure was 88%.

 

John Reid, the previous Health Secretary, has accepted that such pubs are also concentrated in poorer communities. Allowing them to be exempted from a smokefree law will simply undermine Government efforts to reduce health inequalities. If the exemptions are included in the legislation, communities with the highest levels of unemployment and deprivation will have the least protection from passive smoking.

 

Commenting, ASH Director Deborah Arnott said:

 

“The BMA’s important research undermines the argument for exempting many pubs from smokefree legislation. To protect the public from secondhand smoke, and to maximise the public health benefit from smoking restrictions, the law must be comprehensive. There should be no smoking in workplaces and enclosed public places. It is as simple as that.”

 

ENDS

 

CONTACT:              Ian Willmore          020 7739 5902 (w)  07887 641344 (m)