Smoke ban may extend to some outside areas

By Iain O'Neil

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Smoke ban Smoking House of lords

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The Government has played down fears over the extension of the smoke ban to outside areas but refused to rule out changing what constitutes a legal...

The Government has played down fears over the extension of the smoke ban to outside areas but refused to rule out changing what constitutes a legal place to smoke at some time in the future.

The Department of Health and trade bodies have all moved to play down stories in the national press about some outdoor areas being included in the ban in future.

But when asked by the Morning Advertiser, a Government spokesman was unable to say if regulations over what constitutes a legal smoke shelter could also change after the ban comes in.

The news will strike fear into the hearts of licensees who are planning to build smoke shelters when the Government release the smoke ban regulations shortly.

The power to change and adapt the smoke ban was always in the Bill from day one​Mark Hastings, BBPA.

The spokesman for the Department of Health told the possibility to extend the ban had always existed in the Bill but how it would be extended and when was all speculation.

She said: "Bus shelters, sports stadium and the entrances to workplaces and public buildings have always been used as examples of additional smoke free places as set out in Clause 4 of the Health Bill which was published last October.

"We intend to consult shortly on draft regulations which will designate what constitutes enclosed and substantially enclosed premises. This does not include bus shelters, sports stadium or the exits and entrances to public buildings or workplaces.

"Our intention is to monitor the operation of the legislation from its introduction in Summer 2007 before we consult further on regulations covering additional smoke free places, for example, bus shelters."

Mark Hastings of the British Beer and Pub Association said they would be contacting the Department of Health for clarification over what was said in the House of Lords.

However, he said the stories in the national newspapers were a bit of a red-herring as nothing had changed in the proposed legislation.

"The power to change and adapt the smoke ban was always in the Bill from day one,"​ he said. "The Bill sets up a regulatory framework and there will always be flexibility in it.

"Looking at the words of Lord Warner it doesn't seem to take it very much further than the Bill we are already dealing with.

"But we are looking closely at these words and we are in touch with the Department of Health to see exactly what is meant by Lords Warner's statement in the House."

Nick Bish, chief executive of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers also played down the news, saying: "There is nothing new in this but the Government do have the power to change the Bill in the future so long as they consult."

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Guidance Now!The Government must help pubs plan for the smoking ban as early as possible.To avoid further confusion as to where and how people can smoke the Morning Advertiser has launched a petition as part of its Plan for the Ban campaign. Click here to find out more and sign.

Your CommentsRobert Feal-Martinez​ via email 21/06/2006"I am sure Iain O'Neil is not really surprised by this like those at Freedom to Choose he has followed this all the way. One only had to listen to the tone of Lord Warner's remarks in the Lords to know what was afoot. What was also amazing was how many amendments were with drawn due to the lateness of the hour. Hardly a democratic reason, although they can be brought back at the third reading. Lets hope their Lordships really do listen to the fears we have expressed throughout this process. If we are not to get well and truly shafted all eyes need to be open. By giving the Secretary of State wide ranging powers to change the Act we are indeed becoming a dictatorship."

Charles Dark​ via email, 21/06/2006The possibility of the ban on smoking for certain "outside" areas may be a blessing all round. Certainly the thought of the pavement areas in front of pubs being littered with cigarette end and people hastily puffing away before returning inside will not contribute to the quality of the environment. As such this area of the "ban" would be welcome. I would suggest that Licensees support the "pavement ban" and the simulatneous licensing of smoking areas which are not on the public highway, gardens, couryards. In this way, pubs and clubs can provide safe havens for smokers without causing offence to non-smokers.

All must accept that the ban is coming and the brief is not to punish smokers but to persuade people to stop. Rather than confrontation with Government, scare-mongering, creative and well thought out solutions which satisfy the needs of all must be the only sensible order of the day.

From our particular perspective, the thought of all the pubs in our street having gatherings of "smokers" outside on the pavement would render the street/town far less attractive and be detrimental to business.

Ian Willmore - Public Affairs Manager - ASH​ via email, 21/06/2006Stories in today's papers that the smoking ban could be extended to outside areas are based on a misunderstanding.

Health Minister Lord Warner, who was widely quoted in the press, was explaining during the Report Stage debate in the House of Lords the meaning of Clause 4 of the Health Bill. This gives the Government powers by regulation to extend the types of public place required to be smokefree beyond "substantially enclosed" buildings.

But the Government has made it clear it has no plans to use these powers in the near future. The definition of "substantially enclosed" will be the same as in Scotland (i.e. more than half the wall area is not open).

Robert Feal-Martinez​ via email 22/06/2006"So we are supposed to accept that ASH really do not want smoking banned everywhere, and they are defending what Lord Warner said. Most who read this would not have listened to the entire debate at Committee and on the floor of the Lords. I have. I have also read and re-read Hansard. Ian Gilmore is doing what ASH always do, they are saying 'we are reasonable people, we accept your rights' strange then they have been actively campaigning in both Ireland and Scotland for bans to be extended. Professor Clancy ASH Ireland wants smoking shelters banned. ASH Scotland wants tighter rules on outside areas. For God sake people wake up. Lord Warner's words are like 'Pie Crusts' they are made to be broken.

As Ian Gilmore has chosen to come out of the ASH closet perhaps he would like to answer why his organisation has been afraid to respond to my challenge to debate the science about ETS, I am not a scientist but I have a Brain, if there is someone in their organisation that can equal that qualification then I am happy to debate on live television."

Paul Bailey​ via email 22/06/2006"It is about time that someone took the smoking ban to the European Court of Human Rights.

They say a pub is a 'Public House' and thus a 'Public Place' - but how many pubs are funded by public expense?

This is my house and home, why can I not decide who smokes here?

The government in their arguement is looking at figures, i.e the cost of smoking on the NHS, but no matter what

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