Health secretary Patricia Hewitt has defended the plans for a partial ban on smoking in public places in England.
Ahead of the publication of the Bill in Parliament today, she told the BBC that “many of us would have liked to have gone further and faster”.
But Hewitt said the plans would mean 99% of workplaces would be smoke-free.
The fact private clubs and non-food pubs could continue to allow smoking should not detract from the positive measures in the Bill, she said.
She said: “The Bill that I am introducing today is going to ban smoking in every office, factory, shop, restaurant, every form of public transport, virtually every enclosed public space and work space.
“This is an enormous step forward for public health… it is going to make it easier for people who want to give up smoking to do so… over time it will save thousands of lives.”