New poll shows public back Health Select Committee amendment on smokefree law.

Tuesday 31 January 2006

Media Release:  00.01hrs Tuesday 31st January 2006   


New Poll Shows Public Back Health Select Committee Amendment on Smokefree Law


  A new opinion poll published today shows that the majority of the public in England back the House of Commons Select Committee in its call for comprehensive smokefree legislation.


An all-Party group of ten members of the Select Committee, led by the Chair of the Committee Kevin Barron MP, has tabled an amendment to the Health Bill that would ensure that all workplaces and enclosed public places, including all pubs and membership clubs, would be smokefree. The Bill as it now stands would allow smoking to continue in clubs and in pubs that do not serve prepared food. The Government has now announced a free vote for its MPs on the issue, as has the Conservative Opposition. The Commons Report Stage of the Health Bill may take place in the week beginning February 13th.


Asked whether they support the Committee’s proposal 70% of those polled said yes, with only 18% saying they were opposed [1].


Peter Hollins, Director General of the British Heart Foundation, commented:


“This poll demonstrates the strength of public support in England, as in the rest of the UK, for an end to smoking in workplaces and enclosed public spaces. MPs must now take note of what their constituents are saying and have the confidence to vote for this vital amendment. It has rightly been recognised that this issue goes beyond party politics and is, in fact, a simple, popular and vitally necessary public health reform.”


ASH Director Deborah Arnott commented:


“The message to MPs could not be clearer. The public wants smokefree legislation. They want it in England, just as they do in Scotland, Wales and in Northern Ireland. We are delighted that the Health Select Committee has led the way on this important issue and we are increasingly optimistic that comprehensive smokefree legislation will get a big majority in the free vote.” 



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Contact: Ian Willmore   020 8885 3779 (h)  07887 641344 (m)




[1] The survey was conducted by BMRB International using the BMRB Access Omnibus (telephone) survey between 20-22 January 2006. It involved 831 adults aged 16+ in England.


The survey asked:

 “A Government Bill in parliament will make enclosed workplaces smokefree, with exemptions for pubs not serving food, and private members clubs. The Chair of the Health Committee supported by committee members from all parties has tabled an amendment to make ALL enclosed workplaces, including all pubs and clubs smokefree. How strongly would you support or oppose this amendment to make ALL enclosed workplaces smokefree?”


Support 70
Oppose 18
Neither 11
Don’t know 1
Total 100