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New smoking poll adds to pressure for full ban

30 December 2005

Almost three-quarters of people across the UK back an all-out ban on smoking in places of work, including pubs and restaurants, says a new poll.

The YouGov survey was commissioned by Cancer Research UK and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).

They claim the results "fatally undermine the Government's claim that exemptions from smokefree legislation for non-food pubs and clubs are needed in England."

The poll found 72% of all respondents backed legislation to make all workplaces smokefree, including pubs and restaurants.

The figure for England was 71%, the same as for Scotland, which is already planning to introduce its own all-out ban.

Asked if all pubs and bars should be smokefree by law, 67% across the UK said "yes". The figure for England was 66%, up from 51% in Spring 2004.

Cancer Research UK's chief executive, Professor Alex Markham, commented:

"Ministers have said again and again that public opinion in England does not support a comprehensive smokefree law. This large and robust poll shows once again that this is just plain wrong.

"The widely derided exemptions for pubs and clubs must now be dropped from the Health Bill. The experience of other countries shows that smokefree legislation must be comprehensive if it is to be successful."

ASH director Deborah Arnott commented:

"This poll must surely be the final decisive piece of evidence that ministers need to abandon their unpopular and unworkable bodge for English pubs and membership clubs.

"There is no longer any significant public support for this idea, and a long litany of reasons - from industry, local government and health experts - showing why it won't work.

"The time has come for Prime Minister Tony Blair to make his position clear. His New Year's resolution should be to announce that smokefree legislation will be as comprehensive in England as in every other part of the UK."

Across the UK, 86% of people thought all restaurants should be smokefree, 81% thought smoking should be banned in all cafés, and 69% thought it should be banned in hotel bedrooms.

The poll questioned 3,600 people across the UK.

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