Government considering ban on smoking in public places

Tony
Blair has said the Government is considering introducing a ban on smoking in
public places and will come to a decision in the "next few months".

But
the prime minister stressed it was "a difficult balance" protecting
the public’s health on the one hand and not being overly interfering on the
other.

He
told the BBC’s Breakfast programme: "You have got to have some balanced
decision making in this, and it’s a difficult balance."

He
added: "On the one hand it’s something that does damage your health –
you’ve got to be careful you don’t end up with a [nanny state]."

New
York, Ireland and now Norway have all introduced smoking bans.

Mr
Blair said: "There’s no doubt about the damage that smoking does and also
I think for a lot of people who aren’t smokers they would actually prefer to be
in an environment where there’s not smoking taking place."

Last
month a survey suggested that a majority of Britons favoured a ban.

By Mike Berry

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