Government Publishes Smokefree Consultation Four out of Five Back Comprehensive Ban
|Media Release: For Immediate Release, Thursday 24th November 2005
Government Publishes Smokefree Consultation
Four out of Five Back Comprehensive Ban
|The Government has now belatedly published the results of its public consultation on smokefree legislation. Despite a misleading press release on the issue, the analysis reveals that the overwhelming majority of respondents – more than four out of five – wanted comprehensive smokefree legislation, without the Government’s planned exemption for pubs that do not serve prepared food and private membership clubs.
According to the analysis document, on the principle of smokefree legislation “the majority of responses (89.6 per cent) are PRO, with 10.2 percent ANTI.” Of these the “vast majority” opposed exemptions for pubs and membership clubs.
In response to the specific question about exempting pubs that do not serve prepared food.
“The majority of responses to this question (over 90 per cent) are against any exemption for pubs not serving food. Where reasons for opposition are given, they fall into the following main
– this is a health and safety at work issue, and the health and safety of bar staff and entertainers needs to be assured
– exemptions make enforcement more difficult
– workers may be able to sue employers on the grounds of ‘guilty knowledge’ for failing to take appropriate steps to protect their health
– exemptions discriminate against non-smoking customers and staff – including those with asthma and pregnant women
– exempted pubs will be in more deprived communities and so the legislation will widen health inequalities
– there is no logic in basing a health and safety measure on the distinction between food and non-food pubs.”
Deborah Arnott, Director of Action on Smoking and Health, commented:
“The Government has finally published the results of its consultation on smokefree legislation – showing what we knew all along. The vast majority of respondents want comprehensive smokefree legislation. Hardly any believe that the Government’s bodged exemption for non-food pubs and membership clubs can work. If the Government simply ignored these responses, why bother to consult in the first place?
This can only add to the growing pressure on the Government to amend the Health Bill, due for its Second Reading next week, to give England the comprehensive smokefree law that is now coming to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.