England smoking ban in effect

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/europe/07 … index.html

LONDON, England (Reuters) – England snuffed out smoking in bars, workplaces and public buildings on Sunday in what campaigners said was the biggest boost to public health since the creation of the National Health Service in 1948.

Smokers violating restrictions in England and businesses failing to display “no smoking” signs face heavy fines.

1 of 3 The legislation is designed to protect people from the effects of second-hand smoke at work, which doctors estimate kills more than 600 people a year. The government hopes it will help smokers quit and discourage children from lighting up.

England follows Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and means smoking in enclosed public places such as pubs is now banned throughout the United Kingdom.

The move follows similar bans in Ireland and other European countries. Some parts of Canada and a number of U.S. states have had strict controls on smoking for years.

Individuals lighting up against the law in England face fines of up to 200 pounds ($400) while businesses can be charged up to 1,000 pounds for failing to display “no smoking” signs.

“Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death,” said Deborah Arnott, at charity Action on Smoking and Health. “Workers have a right to a safe environment and the harm done by tobacco smoke is now known to be significantly dangerous.”

A quarter of adults smoke, with the level higher among those doing manual and routine jobs.

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But artist David Hockney, who has been waging campaign against the ban, calls it a “grotesque piece of social engineering” imposed by a “political and media elite.”

People will still be able to smoke at home, although those receiving home visits from local authority employees can expect to be asked not to smoke for a period before they arrive.

Many pubs have installed rain awnings and patio heaters to accommodate smokers outside.

Offshore oil rigs, hotel rooms and prison cells are among the few places where public smoking will continue to be permitted. Also, unlike in Scotland, actors will be able to smoke on stage where it is required for “artistic integrity.”

Richard Lilley, 37, a law firm printer relaxing with a cigarette and pint of beer in a pub in London’s Fleet Street before the ban came into force, said he did not want to give up smoking because he enjoyed it.

“I won’t bother going to the pub, I will drink at home. I enjoy a beer with a cigarette, it’s part of the culture.” E-mail to a friend

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