Public health minister Caroline Flint has hinted that the government will keep its halfway house approach to smoking in pubs, despite speculation that it might change.
Speaking at a fringe meeting at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, Flint said: “There would be a change in policy with a ban in most workplaces and restrictions in licensed premises.”
Flint’s comments suggest the government will keep its plan to allow smoking in pubs that don’t serve hot food when it publishes its Health Improvement Bill, which is scheduled for its first reading in Parliament on 10 October.
Health lobby groups Action on Smoking and Health and Cancer Research had hoped that fierce opposition to the partial ban from both the pro and anti camps would force Labour to stub out smoking in England.
But a spokeswoman at the Department of Health backed Flint’s comments. “Our position has always been that we would introduce a partial ban.
“The consultation we have carried out was about the finer points relating to this, and not about the broader subject and alternative approaches.”