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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 July, 2005, 21:05 GMT 22:05 UK
Welsh blanket smoking ban planned
Cigarette being stubbed out
Smoking in public places will be outlawed under the proposals
A blanket ban on smoking in public places in Wales is to be implemented within three years, according to Health Minister Dr Brian Gibbons.

Dr Gibbons has said he "fully accepted" a smoking ban in workplaces and enclosed public places was needed.

In May, a cross-party group of AMs recommended that smoking in enclosed public places should be banned.

The Welsh ban will go further than the one being put forward in England, where pubs serving food would be exempt.

Dr Gibbons said: "Pubs, bars and restaurants are areas of particular risk for workers and customers," he said.

"If we are serious about protecting public health then they must be included in any proposed ban.

Health Minister Brian Gibbons
Health Minister Brian Gibbons wants a smoking ban in Wales

"Research shows that customers, including smokers, quickly accept smoke-free as the norm and that smoke-free areas discourage people from taking up smoking."

He said that health concerns had prompted the move.

"Smoking is the major preventable cause of illness and premature death in Wales - causing around 6,000 deaths each year.

"Second hand smoke contributes to over 400 deaths each year.

"Adult non-smokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke have a substantially increased risk of lung cancer, heart disease and chronic respiratory disease.

"Second-hand smoke is a serious public health risk that needs to be addressed. This will have health benefits for both smokers and non-smokers.

"Those are the facts, and we must act on them."

In Wales we took the historic vote to ban smoking in public place, we will soon have the powers to implement that ban
Health Minister Brian Gibbons

He said the assembly government would now take steps to put the ban in place.

"The Westminster government has signalled its intention to enable us in Wales to make our own decisions on this issue," he said.

"The next steps will be the Health Improvement and Protection Bill going into Parliament for its first reading, which is likely to be in the autumn. "Once the Bill receives royal assent, we will carry out a consultation on draft regulations for Wales.

"In the meantime we will be strengthening smoking cessation services, developing a public awareness campaign and holding discussions with key stakeholders on implementation of the ban.

"In Wales we took the historic vote to ban smoking in public places.

"We will soon have the powers to implement that ban and we are pressing ahead. The experience in Ireland and New York, for example, show that this is the right thing to do."

Smoking bans are being planned for Scotland and England as well as Wales following the move in Ireland in 2004.


SEE ALSO:
Councils 'not tackling smoking'
05 Jul 05 |  Health


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