Mixed views on smoking ban

LEGISLATION to restrict smoking in enclosed public places attracted a mixed response in East Anglia last night, with health bosses and licensees divided over the issue.

By Danielle Nuttall

LEGISLATION to restrict smoking in enclosed public places attracted a mixed response in East Anglia last night, with health bosses and licensees divided over the issue.

The moves, announced in the Queen's speech yesterday will see smoking banned in all Government departments and across the NHS by the end of 2006, with few exceptions.

A year later, the ban will be rolled out to include all enclosed places and workplaces, except some licensed premises and those with specific exemptions.


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And by the end of 2008, arrangements for licensed premises will be in place, meaning all pubs and bars that prepare and serve food will be subject to the smoke-free laws.

Last night Michael Collins, chairman of Ipswich Pubwatch, said the move signalled the end of the English public house.

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He said: "Unfortunately Ireland decided to go no-smoking and it's been very successful in premises but not for businesses.

"The licensed trade in Ireland is down 22%. It's lovely to go into a public house if you're a non-smoker but what about your grandmother and grandfather who have smoked all their lives? How can you tell them they cannot smoke?

"I'm all for it where there is a restaurant area or if there is a bar which has children. Unfortunately, this is going to be world-wide eventually."

The measures announced in the Queen's Speech will be included in the Health Improvement and Protection Bill.

While Dr Brian Keeble, lead public health director for Suffolk East Primary Care Trusts, welcomed the new legislation, he said its introduction needed to be speeded up.

"I am supportive of it but it's disappointing the Government has not gone further and it's disappointing it's going to take another three-and-a-half years to introduce but it's a start," he said.

"There's probably about 20% or so of licensed premises that will not be covered so people working in those places will not be protected by this ban on smoking which is disappointing."

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