Pressure is mounting for an all-out ban on smoking after latest official statistics showed a continued decline in the number of smokers in the UK.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed that in the past six years the proportion of smokers in England fell from 28% to 25% of the population.

Ian Willmore of Action on Smoking and Health said: "Any decrease is welcome but this is only a slow decline and 100,000 people still die each year from smoking-related diseases.

"For the Government to hit its own long-term targets we need new legislation, the most important of which is a comprehensive smoking ban in England."

Current smoking ban proposals inlude exemptions for pubs not serving food and for private. The law is due to take effect in England from the middle of 2007.

by Amanda Smith

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