Pressure is building on Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt to Stub out Smoking in England after Northern Ireland announced it would go for a complete ban from April 2007.
Northern Ireland's health minister, Shaun Woodward, announced on Monday that the country would follow the Republic of Ireland's lead and ban smoking in all enclosed public places. With Scotland
set to introduce a total ban in April next year and Wales indicating it will follow suit, demands for the Government to follow Caterer‘s campaign and introduce a comprehensive ban are growing.
Martin Couchman, deputy chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, said: "We are in an odd position where a minister in Westminster has taken this decision for Northern Ireland, yet the Department of Health still appears to be on a different wavelength. A blanket ban is the only realistic option."
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "If workers in the rest of the UK are to be protected from passive smoking, so should those in England."
But the decision disappointed the Federation of the Retailed Licensed Trade in Northern Ireland. It said: "A full ban will have a devastating effect on the trade, with about 66% of our members believing they will have to lay-off staff."