England goes Smokefree Today: A victory for Public Health

Sunday 01 July 2007

ASH news release:  For immediate release: Friday 29 June 2007


England goes Smokefree Today: A victory for Public Health


From 6am today England joins the rest of the British Isles in going smokefree.


Deborah Arnott, Director of the health campaigning charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) said:

 “In future years our children will look back in amazement at the thought that smoking was ever allowed in enclosed public places.  This is a momentous day for public health, the impact of which will be felt for generations to come. It’s not just workers and the general public that will benefit, it’s also good news for the millions of smokers encouraged to try to quit by the change in the law.”


Good news for workers: Exposure to secondhand smoke is a workplace health and safety issue and this law will protect workers health.  The smokefree legislation covers virtually all workplaces, which means that all employees in offices, shops, factories, restaurants or pubs will be able to work in a smokefree environment.


Good news for the public: Public support for the smokefree workplaces is running high, with 78% of people supporting the legislation. A report by the British Thoracic Society and ASH outlines evidence from other jurisdictions and countries with similar laws that the support for smokefree environments only increases with time.[1]


Polling also shows that people are set to attend pubs more often; with one adult in four saying they will go to pubs more often once the ban comes in. The trend is highest among women and 25-45 year olds.


Good news for smokers: Rarely does a change in law result in such significant health gains. Almost 4 million smokers in England are intending to quit within the first year of the smokefree legislation.  Evidence from other countries suggests that smokers will seize this opportunity in record numbers and that having smokefree pubs and restaurants will help support them in their quit attempt.


Smokers also support the ban, with 40% expressing their support for it. Smokers also support smokefree pubs with overall opposition among smokers sliding from 84% in 2005 to 58% currently.


The work of ASH and Deborah Arnott was recognised by the Faculty of Public Health, when she was awarded the Alwyn Smith Prize this week.  The Alwyn Smith Prize is awarded annually to the person judged to have made the most outstanding contribution to the health of the public.  Ms Arnott was pleased that the significance of smokefree legislation to public health was recognised in this way.


Media Alert: 1st July Smokefree celebration – interview and photo opportunities available

11.00-14.00 Spaniards Inn, Hampstead Health

President/Directors and CEOs from organisations that campaigned for smokefree legislation will be in attendance and available for interview, as well as people who will benefit from the ban such as people with asthma. More details: Linda Cuthbertson, Royal College of Physicians on 0794 105 7494.


Notes and links:

[1] All statistics taken from Smokefree England: We’re holding our breath  report by ASH and British Thoracic Society: http://tinyurl.com/2w9bkx


Fieldwork conducted between 17th and 19th April 2007. The sample was 1,562 adults in England. This survey has been conducted using an online interview administered members of the YouGov Plc GB panel of 115,000+ individuals who have agreed to take part in surveys.


ASH representative Martin Dockrell will be available for interviews on 1 July, please contact him to arrange a suitable time. He will also be in attendance at Spaniards Inn celebration as outlined in the Media Alert above.


Contact: Martin Dockrell  020 7739 5902 (w) 0794 908 9636 (m) ISDN available


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