Government denies smoking ban press reports

The government has denied reports that it would opt for an outright ban on smoking in public places.

Health minister Caroline Flint told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that weekend newspaper reports suggesting the government might go for a total ban were “false, speculation, anonymous briefings”.

She said: “We are having this consultation based on the proposals in the White Paper. I don’t know where the stories came from.”

Flint was also asked whether there would be anything new in ideas being announced today.

She said: “No, we will be asking people’s opinions on the proposals in the White Paper, which we had a huge consultation on last year.

“This really is to refine our proposals to look at ways in which we can enforce the measures, to ban smoking in workplaces and most public places.

“But there are some exemptions, and we will be looking to industry, charities and the public as to their views [to] make sure we get the right law when we come back to parliament with the Bill.”

The government’s proposal, published in a White Paper last year, suggests that pubs that do not serve hot food would be exempt from a ban.

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