Labour leak reveals consideration of public smoking ban

Labour
is considering a pledge to ban smoking in public places, the party confirmed
today.

News
of the proposal in a leaked policy document came as new research found that the
risks of passive smoking could be more serious than previously alleged.

The
prospect of giving local authorities the power to introduce smoking
restrictions at work and in public places was a key theme of Labour’s Big
Conversation public consultation, carried out over the past few months.

The
leaked policy document is the first indication of the outcome of the consultation,
and will be discussed next month by Labour’s Policy Forum.

It
discusses the option of continuous above-inflation increases in tobacco taxes
as a way of lowering cigarette consumption, and states that it would be
essential to decide whether a ban should be imposed by local or national government.

A
Labour spokesman said: "The draft document reflects the concerns raised by
party members on this issue, but does not draw definitive conclusions. "

The
British Medical Association (BMA) has called on the Government to make all
workplaces smoke-free.

In
the UK, 3 million workers are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke, and
around 1.3 million are exposed to second-hand smoke at least 75 per cent of the
time, according to the BMA.

By Jessica Devonport

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