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Wednesday, July 8, 1998 Published at 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK


Doctors not ready for public smoking ban

Doctors say a ban on public smoking may be too heavy-handed

Doctors have stopped short of calling for a complete ban on smoking in all public places.

Speaking at the British Medical Association annual conference in Cardiff, Stanmore GP Dr Chaand Nagpaul said tough action was needed to combat the impact of passive smoking.

Dr Nagpaul said the babies of smoking mothers were twice as likely to die of cot death, had a 60% increased risk of asthma and were twice as likely to suffer ear infections.

He said the government had demonstrated an "absurd" sense of priority by banning beef on the bone when there was a one in 40m chance of contracting CJD, while permitting the 20% increased risk of lung cancer among people innocently inhaling others' cigarette smoke.

"We must ensure that the reality of a smoke-free public environment is achieved in the interests of the nation's health," he said.

'Pie in the sky'

However, Dr Elizabeth North, a consultant radiologist from Carshalton, dismissed the motion as being too heavy-handed.

"This is pie in the sky. The Yorkshire Dales and Snowdonia are public places. If somebody wants to climb to the top of Snowdon and have a fag I don't mind," she said.

Doctors backed the spirit of Dr Nagpaul's motion, without voting to change their policy.

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