Page last updated at 20:57 GMT, Tuesday, 14 February 2006

Mixed reaction to ban on smoking

Cancer Research smoking campaign packets and the Houses of Parliament
The health lobby is delighted
MPs have voted to ban smoking in all enclosed public places in England, including all pubs and private members' clubs. What has the reaction been to the news?

Professor Alex Markham, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: "This is the most important advance in public health since Sir Richard Doll identified that smoking causes lung cancer 50 years ago. Today's vote will protect thousands of workers and save many lives."

Deborah Arnott, director of ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), said: "MPs will rarely get the chance to cast a vote that does so much good, at such little cost, in such a short time. This is the best news for public health for more than 30 years."

The medical profession should be ashamed of itself
Simon Clark

Simon Clark, director of smoking support group Forest, said: "This is a double whammy and an unnecessary and illiberal piece of legislation that denies freedom of choice to millions of people.

"The government should educate people about the health risks of smoking but politicians have no right to force people to quit by making it more difficult for people to consume a legal product.

"A total ban is disproportionate to the problems of second-hand smoking. Unfortunately MPs have been seduced by an unprecedented campaign of propaganda about the effects of passive smoking for which the evidence is inconclusive. The medical profession should be ashamed of itself."

Fresh, the Campaign for a Smoke Free North East, said: "We must make sure this legislation comes into force as soon as practically possible. We must also make sure that it is implemented smoothly and in the period up to the introduction of the legislation Fresh will be educating the public and working with businesses across the region to make sure the ban works from day one."

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: "This is a major victory for the simple union principle that people at work should not have to breathe in toxins."

Peter Hollins, director general of the British Heart Foundation, said: "This is the best possible Valentine's gift from MPs to bar workers in public bars and private members' clubs across England."

There is still the prospect that hundreds of community pubs will close and people will lose their jobs
Mark Hastings
British Beer and Pub Association
Mark Hastings, of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: "We are pleased that MPs have ensured a level playing field for all, with no exemption for private members' clubs. Such clubs are in direct competition with pubs, and they are not private places. They sell 1.2 billion pints of beer a year, and their thousands of employees are subject to the same health and safety at work regulations as pub industry staff.

"Now the real hard work begins, preparing our customers and pubs for this cultural shift. There is still the prospect that hundreds of community pubs will close and people will lose their jobs."

The Local Government Association's public health spokesperson, Councillor David Rogers, said: "Common sense has triumphed at last. The majority of people in this country support a complete ban, and the decision by MPs to reflect this opinion is a breath of fresh air."

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