The government finally published its health Bill in October outlining plans to ban smoking in all enclosed public places, apart from pubs that do not serve food, but fell short of demands from campaigners for a complete ban.
Health secretary Patricia Hewitt said the rules, which come into force in the summer of 2007, would save “thousands of lives” in England.
“This package is a huge step forward for public health and will help reduce deaths from cancer, heart disease and other smoking-related diseases,” said Hewitt, adding that by summer 2007, 99% of workplaceswould already be work-free, against 51% reported at present.
But health and anti-smoking campaigners criticised the Bill as a missed opportunity that would leave England out of step with countries such as Australia and Ireland.
The first guide on how to implement a workplace smoking ban has been issued to employers in Scotland. From 26 March 2006, smoking will be forbidden in all Scottish workplaces and most enclosed public places.