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Last Updated: Wednesday February 15 2006 07:27 GMT

Smoking ban to begin summer 2007

Cigarette being stubbed out
Smoking will be banned in all enclosed spaces in England in summer 2007 after MPs voted to bring in new rules.

Restaurants, cafes and even shopping centres will all be smoke-free from next year because of the changes.

Anti-smoking campaigners say lots of lives will be saved by the ban, but others think the government shouldn't be telling people where they can smoke.

Bans on smoking in public spaces have already been approved in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said the change would "save thousands of people's lives".

But the ban has raised worries that it could make things worse for some children, as parents who smoke will stay at home and light up rather than go to a pub or club where they can't.

People who smoke in places they shouldn't could face fines of as much as 2,500 - more than 10 times the current 200 fine.

The change in law is being bought in mainly to protect those who work in bars and clubs from the effects of passive smoking.

It's part of something called the Health Bill which could also see the minimum age at which cigarettes can be bought, raised from 16 to 18.

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