Birmingham bids to be first in UK to ban public smoking

Local authorities push Government to prohibit smoking in public

Birmingham could become Britain’s first non-smoking city, according to its
director of public health.

Professor Rod Griffiths, director of public health for the West Midlands,
said the country’s second city should follow the lead of US cities such as New York
and ban smoking in offices, pubs, restaurants and public places.

He told journalists "the time was now right" to make Birmingham
smoke-free. His comments signal a growing trend among local authorities to look
at the issue, and puts further pressure on the Government to get tough on
smoking in public.

Lobbying by the pub and hospitality trade has so far deterred the Government
from implementing an all-out smoking ban in workplaces and other public places,
as recommended by the Health and Safety Commission.

This is despite the Government’s own Chief Medical Officer for England, Sir
Liam Donaldson, calling in Julyfor just such a ban.

A London Labour MP, Gareth Thomas, has also introduced a Bill to Parliament
that would make it illegal to smoke in any public place where food is served.

Meanwhile, Sussex seaside town Brighton, which was widely reported as being
on the verge of voting in a ban, has denied it is putting such a measure in
place. A council spokesman said that rather than pushing for a ban, which it
currently had no power to implement, councillors wanted to "make
smoke-free public places the norm rather than the exception".

In a separate development, a casino worker has won £50,000 in an
out-of-court settlement after claiming that years of being exposed to cigarette
smoke in the workplace has left him suffering from asthma.

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