Press conference to launch Wales smoking bill

Monday 10 January 2005

MEDIA RELEASE: For Immediate Use, Tuesday 11th January 2005


Julie Morgan MP (Labour, Cardiff North) is to host a press conference launching her Private Members Bill to give the National Assembly for Wales the power to end smoking in all workplaces and enclosed public places. Ms Morgan took fourth place in the recent ballot for Private Members Bills.

The press conference will be on Wednesday 12th Jan 2005 10:30 am at Attlee Suite, Portcullis House.

Speakers will be:

Julie Morgan MP (Chair)

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff: Cancer Research Cymru

Dr. Richard Lewis: BMA Cymru Wales

Peter Hollins: British Heart Foundation

Jean King: Cancer Research UK

Deborah Arnott: ASH

The Bill is likely to have a Second Reading in March 2005. It is backed by key public health groups including the British Medical Association Wales Cymru, Asthma UK, the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and Action on Smoking and Health. The Bill is virtually identical to one moved by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff and already passed by the House of Lords.

The Government’s White Paper on Public Health, published on 16th November 2004, supported legislation to restrict smoking in most public places in England and Wales, but also proposed exemptions for private clubs and pubs that do not serve prepared food. Welsh Secretary Peter Hain and Assembly Health Minister Jane Hutt have both indicated that Wales may get specific powers to bring in a comprehensive ban, but the Government has not yet given a firm answer on this point. The National Assembly is now conducting hearings on the issue and has previously voted in favour of asking the UK Parliament for the necessary powers (in January 2003).

27% of adults in Wales smoke. According to the National Public Health Service for Wales, smoking rates vary greatly by social class – with 33% of people in Wales in social class 5 smoking (most deprived) compared to 20% for social class 1 (least deprived).

Smoking is the country’s biggest cause of preventable death. It causes at least 80% of all deaths from lung cancer, around 80% of all deaths from bronchitis and emphysema and around 17% of all deaths from heart disease. According to the British Medical Association, the number of premature deaths in Wales from exposure to secondhand smoke is about 30 each year.