Five years of smokefree but still much to be done
Maura Gillespie, our Head of Policy &
Advocacy, marks the smoking ban's fifth birthday, but insists it's
not time to celebrate.
Sunday 1 July 2012
remember what you were doing on July 1, 2007? I
don’t blame you if you don’t - it was half a decade ago! Let’s see
if I can jog your memory.
The Great British Public was enduring one of
the wettest summers on record, rain had stopped
play for days at Wimbledon, and Rihanna was enjoying another week
at number 1 with her aptly titled single, Umbrella.
If you remember heading indoors to get away
from the downpours then you may also remember something else that
happened on July 1, five years ago. It became illegal to
smoke in enclosed public spaces in England. Pubs, bars,
clubs, offices, factories, trains, buses; they all went smoke free.
Wales and Northern Ireland had gone smoke free earlier in 2007, and
Scotland the year before.
Let’s not sing in the rain just yet, we should be striving for an even brighter future
at the five year anniversary, what have we learned about the
- General support for the new
law increased dramatically after the ban
- The change has proved popular
among smokers. In a 2010 survey, half of all smokers
supported the law
- The legislation resulted in a
reduction in heart attacks– including a 2.4 per
cent drop in the first year
It’s clear that tobacco control legislation
can make a difference. And it’s not just me saying that; a
YouGov survey after the ban found substantial support among smokers
themselves for further restrictions. Like us, 77 per cent
supported a ban on smoking in cars carrying children. The
danger of passive smoking has been known for a
while so why subject our children to it?
The British Heart Foundation is also calling for
tobacco and cigarettes to be sold in packs with larger health
warnings, devoid of logos and attractive colours. These plain packs
would help stop tobacco companies attracting new
smokers and we’re telling the Government just that with
the help of our growing petition.
After all, tobacco control legislation is
about protecting our children by making sure they
don’t breath in lethal second-hand smoke or get hooked on this
dangerous habit in the first place.
Stopping smoking in enclosed public spaces;
banning cigarette vending machines; hiding tobacco displays in
shops and supermarkets; legislation has achieved good
things over the last five years.
But let’s not sing in the rain just yet, we
should be striving for an even brighter