Smoking ban will save lives

A BLANKET ban on smoking will save “a lot of lives”, a Suffolk health official said today.The ban on smoking in all licensed premises was approved by a massive majority of MPs last night, including Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt.

A BLANKET ban on smoking will save “a lot of lives”, a Suffolk health official said today.

The ban on smoking in all licensed premises was approved by a massive majority of MPs last night, including Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt. It was backed by 384 votes to 184.

Norman Foster, health improvement manager for the Suffolk East Primary Care Trusts, said: “It's very good news. It's going to save a lot of lives because, hopefully, more people are going to give up because of it.

“Most importantly, it means that everybody who works in these premises will be protected against second hand smoke.”

The ban will have to be debated in the House of Lords before it can become law, but is expected to come in to force in the summer of 2007.

One of the areas that could struggle most to cope with the ban is social clubs and working men's clubs.

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David Porter, chairman of the Bridge Ward social club, in Austin Street, Ipswich, said: “I think it's going to be very difficult.

“We had a country and western night here a few weeks ago where they tried to have a smoking ban and it didn't go down very well.

“For most people a drink and a cigarette go hand in hand.”

Kerpal Baines, owner of Zest nightclub in Princes Street, said: “Personally, I think it is the government playing Big Brother. People should have a choice. They know that if they are coming in to a pub or club then it's going to be a smoky atmosphere. That's their decision.”

Initially the government had only wanted to introduce a ban in those pubs that served food but this proposal was met with widespread disapproval.

Spot fines of £200 will be introduced for premises failing to display no-smoking signs, while individual smokers caught lighting up in banned areas will face a fixed penalty notice of £50.

Ms Hewitt hailed the ban as a life-saver on the scale of the introduction of compulsory seat belts in cars.

Are you in support of the ban? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk, or vote on our web poll at www.eveningstar.co.uk.

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