Tackling tobacco: key to improving public health

Tuesday 03 February 2004

ASH news release:  For immediate release : Tuesday 3rd February 2004


Tackling tobacco:  key to improving public health.

Responding to the call by Health Minister John Reid for a public consultation on how to improve the nation’s health, ASH urged the Government to take action already known to have public support, such as legislation for smoke-free workplaces.


Deborah Arnott, Director of the health campaigning charity ASH, said:


“Smoking places an enormous, entirely preventable burden on the NHS. But the government could avoid much of this expense by implementing a law to make workplaces and public places smoke-free.  Such a measure would not only safeguard the health of everyone against the hazards of secondhand smoke but has popular support.  This single measure would also result in fewer heart and cancer disease deaths and a better quality of life for all.” 


Whilst welcoming the proposed consultation,  ASH urged the government not to neglect the evidence which already exists to show public support for measures such as smoke-free environments.   A recent MORI poll for example, showed that 49% favoured a complete ban on smoking in cafes and restaurants, rising to 62% in places such as fast food outlets and shopping malls. [1]


Smoking remains the single, largest, preventable cause of ill-health and premature death.  In England alone 1,000 people every day are admitted to hospital with a smoking-related disease. Whilst decisions about smoking and quitting ultimately rest with individuals, government has a vital role to play in the move towards a smoke-free society and by ensuring that support is available to the 70% of smokers who want to quit.






Notes and links:

[1]  National poll commissioned by Smoke-Free London. MORI  Sept 2003


Contact: Deborah Arnott  020 7739 5902 (w) 079 7693 5987 (m) ISDN available