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EDITIONS
Breakfast Wednesday, 6 November, 2002, 06:55 GMT
Passive smoking: tell us your views
Smoky bar
A question of freedom or a public menace? E-mail us
The British Medical Association is warning the government that it's putting the health of millions of people at risk, because of its failure to tackle the risks of passive smoking.

So is it time to ban smoking in all public places?

  • This morning we debated the issues involved with Michael Dunn, who's convinced that passive smoking gave him asthma - and Simon Clark from the pro-smoking group Forest.

    As soon as they'd finished speaking, we were deluged with your e-mails on passive smoking

    Michael Dunn on Breakfast
    Michael has never smoked

    "I worked as a croupier in a casino for 14 years," Michael Dunn told us.

    "I developed asthma - I believe as a result of being exposed to smoke. Until then, I had always been a fit person."

    Simon Clark, from the pro-smoking group Forest, argued that smokers should be allowed to light up in public, because their smoke is diluted by fresh air.

    Simon Clark on Breakfast
    Passive smoking is not a problem, say Forest

    "This argument has been around for 25 years," he told us.

    "They simply have not been able to make it stick.

    "It's up to individual businesses to decide whether to ban smoking in public places."


    Further details from BBC News Online

    Doctors are to warn that the government is putting the health of millions at risk by not tackling the issue of passive smoking.

    A report from the British Medical Association is expected to call for action to safeguard the health of non-smokers.

    It will say that a substantial number of people are highly vulnerable to the adverse effects of passive smoking.


    Our aim, for many years, has been for an end to smoking in workplaces and public places

    Clive Bates, ASH
    Eighty per cent of the population do not smoke. But a quarter live with a smoker, and millions are exposed to smoke fumes in public places.

    Passive smoking has been linked to lung cancer, heart and circulation problems in adults.

    The BMA will say those at risk include:

    • 8m people with lung disease
    • 2.1m with angina
    • 1.3m who have had a heart attack
    • 300,000 who have had a stroke
    • 10.8m women of childbearing age
    • 750,000 pregnant women

    The BMA says children, who make up 20% of the population, are also at risk including the 1.5m who have asthma.

    Passive smoking has also been linked with an increased risk of meningitis, cot death and chest infections in children.

    Workplace smoking

    Clive Bates of Action on Smoking and Health welcomed the BMA's involvement in the passive smoking debate.

    He told BBC News Online: "Our aim, and theirs, for many years has been for an end to smoking in workplaces and public places.

    "If they move that on by strength of argument and by the power of their position as doctors, then they will have done smokers, non-smokers and the NHS a great service.

    "This is how you tackle cancer and heart disease."

    Simon Clark, director of the smokers' rights organisation Forest, said: "I would hate to see them calling for a complete ban on smoking in public places.

    "I don't believe smokers should be able to light up where and when they want. We support smoke-free areas because we believe in choice."

    TELL US WHAT YOU THINK

    To have your say, e-mail us at breakfasttv@bbc.co.uk

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    Smoking
    Michael Dunn debates the issues with Simon Clark from FOREST
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    22 Oct 02 | Health
    05 Oct 02 | Health
    01 Aug 02 | Health
    17 Aug 99 | Health
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