Total smoking ban now likely, reports suggest

The government is expected to execute a U-turn by dropping a manifesto plan to allow smoking in pubs that do not serve food, according to newspaper reports.

The original proposal has been rejected as impossible to enforce after consultation with the catering industry, unions and health organisations.

Health secretary Patricia Hewitt is reportedly looking at the idea of “a sealed smoking room” in some pubs to which people can go to smoke, taking their drink with them if they wish, although it will have no bar and will not be staffed. She is also examining a longer transition to a total ban than 2008, reports say.

The government’s white paper Choosing Health, published in May, would have imposed a ban on smoking in all workplaces, restaurants and pubs serving food.

However, smoking would have continued in private clubs as well as in pubs not serving food.

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