Wales: Assembly Calls for Powers to End Workplace Smoking



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Tuesday 10 May 2005

MEDIA RELEASE: Immediate Use, Tuesday 10th May 2005

 

Wales: Assembly Calls for Powers to End Workplace Smoking
 
The National Assembly for Wales has given a major boost to the campaign for smokefree workplaces and public places today, with the publication of the report by its Committee on Smoking in Public Places. The Committee is calling for the UK Government to give the Assembly powers to introduce a new law ending smoking in enclosed workplaces and public places in Wales, with tight exemptions for parts of long stay hospital units, prison cells and hotel rooms. The law would come into effect within 2 to 3 years.
Peter Hain, Secretary of State for Wales, has previously said that the UK Government’s White Paper on Public Health was likely to lead to a new law which would also restrict smoking in Wales, and said it was “a golden opportunity” to develop specific Welsh legislation. Mr Hain had said the Bill to introduce restrictions on smoking in England, expected to be announced in the Queen’s Speech on 17th May, would contain clauses dealing with Wales.
On 22 January 2003, an Assembly Motion was moved by Alun Pugh AM (Labour) to recommend to the UK Parliament the enactment of legislation prohibiting smoking in public places in Wales. Members of the Assembly were given a free vote and approved the resolution by 39 votes to 10 with majorities in all four parties in favour. All four party leaders (Labour, Liberal Democrat, Conservative, Plaid Cymru) and all four party health spokesmen voted for the resolution.

 

Action on Smoking and Health, which gave evidence to the Assembly Committee, has warmly welcomed today’s report. ASH Public Health Manager Ian Willmore commented:

 

“We are delighted by the Assembly’s report today. It is essential for public health in Wales that this long overdue reform happens as soon as possible. Welsh politicians have rightly chosen to follow the Irish model, and join their colleagues in Scotland in opting for a comprehensive law, rather than the half-measure still on the table for England.

 

Peter Hain should lose no time in giving a clear and unequivocal promise that the powers the Assembly wants will be included in the Public Health Bill expected to be announced in the Queen’s Speech next week.”

 

ENDS

 

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