Government to move towards outright smoking ban?

Related tags Smoking ban Outright smoking ban Outright ban Patricia hewitt

Fresh speculation is mounting that the government could change its position and introduce an all out smoking ban by the end of 2008.Health Secretary...

Fresh speculation is mounting that the government could change its position and introduce an all out smoking ban by the end of 2008.

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt is understood to be considering strengthening the ban in England if there is enough public support.

Plans for a ban on smoking in pubs serving food before the end of 2008 are due to be laid out in a public health bill later this year. But with Ms Hewitt taking over from John Reid as Health Secretary as part of a government shake-up, rumours that Labour will seek an outright ban are increasing.

The Department of Health said the consultation on how its proposal to ban smoking in public will be enforced is due to be published later this month.

Nick Bish, chief executive of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, said: "It doesn't surprise me there is this speculation because John Reid was known for his pragmatism and was a product of his own political antennae. "Patricia Hewitt will be a more straightforward Health Secretary and it is likely she will be considering something more robust."

Last month Ted Tuppen, chief executive of Enterprise Inns, said he expected the government would change its plans and impose a complete ban on smoking in pubs. Mitchells & Butlers also confirmed it was prepared for an outright ban.

Michelle Baker, spokeswoman for the Atmosphere Improves Results initiative - which promotes ventilation in pubs - said: "The government will be under huge pressure from groups such as ASH to deliver a complete ban. The question is whether it can do this and show it is still capable of engaging with the licensed trade."

Related topics Legislation

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