EADT readers back public smoking ban
EAST Anglian Daily Times readers have shown their overwhelming support for a ban on smoking in public places.Just over 70% of those who took part in a phone poll voted for a ban.
EAST Anglian Daily Times readers have shown their overwhelming support for a ban on smoking in public places.
Just over 70% of those who took part in a phone poll voted for a ban. It follows the Government Bill, announced last week, to outlaw smoking in enclosed public places, including pubs that serve food.
The snapshot of public opinion in East Anglia was last night hailed as further confirmation of a national desire to snub out smoking.
Bob Webb, chairman of the Smoke Free Suffolk campaign group, said: "This is fantastic news and confirmation of a fairly accurate national picture now.
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"I think this is just further proof that the research, which is quite extensive now, about smoking in public places generally reflects what people want.
"I have been confident about it and this is another opportunity to say we can be confident in it."
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Hundreds of people voted in the poll, which was set up to gauge public opinion after the Government outlined its proposals.
Following the announcement, publicans across the region said they feared a ban on smoking in licensed premises that serve food would drive away business and pose a particular threat to village pubs, which could be forced to close through loss of trade.
The Bill would see smoking banned in the majority of enclosed public places in England - including 90% of pubs that prepare and serve food - within the next four years.
Its announcement sparked a national debate and prompted warnings that thousands of jobs could be lost in the pub trade.
An EADT poll of publicans at that time showed that out of the 30 premises contacted, 21 opposed a ban (70%) while seven (23%) said they supported it.
Simon Clark, director of smokers' lobby group Forest, criticised the Government's plans, saying that pubs, clubs and restaurants were private businesses and should be allowed to choose a policy on smoking that suits their customers and staff.