Doctors have condemned the Government for delaying the introduction of legislation to ensure smoke free workplaces throughout the UK.
More than three million workers are regularly exposed to secondary environmental tobacco smoke in the workplace, according to the British Medical Association (BMA).
Recent research by the Royal College of Physicians found that passive smoking in the workplace causes about 700 deaths each year in the UK
Speaking in Edinburgh at a meeting of the BMA’s UK Council, BMA chairman James Johnson said: “The BMA has been calling for a ban for almost 20 years. In that time, thousands of people have died because governments of all political persuasions have not had the courage to act on this issue.
“The question is, do today’s leaders of the four nations have the guts to follow Ireland’s lead and make enclosed public places smoke-free?” he asked.