Chief medical officer calls for a ban on workplace smoking

Smoking should be banned in workplaces and other public places, according to
the Chief Medical Officer for England, Sir Liam Donaldson.

Donaldson, in his annual report On the State of Public Health, said clearing
workplaces and public areas of cigarette smoke would be the "final brick
in the wall" of the Government’s measures to combat smoking.

"It has been estimated that3 million people in this country become
passive smokers when they go to work. Particularly vulnerable are bar workers,
waiters and waitresses. Comprehensive workplace smoking bans would protect
these workers," he said.

Up to now, the Government has shied away from an all-out smoking ban, partly
as a result of pressure from the pub and hospitality trade.

It has rejected advice from the Health and Safety Commission for a legally
binding code to force employers to ban smoking or take stringent measures to
protect staff from other people’s smoke, preferring a voluntary code instead.

Donaldson’s comments, while not binding on the Government, will add to the
pressure on ministers to agree to a ban.

"Moves to make public places and workplaces smoke-free would create a
climate in which ‘no smoking’ is the social norm. It would also help smokers to
give up, remove the risks of passive smoking for millions of people, and would
reduce the risks of fire and cut the costs of cleaning," he added.

Deborah Arnott, director of the anti-tobacco campaigning group ASH,
estimated that 80 per cent of people in the UK supported smoke-free public

"While more enlightened employers have taken steps to limit workers’
exposure to tobacco smoke, there are still some 3 million people in the UK who
are forced to breathe in other people’s smoke," she said.

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