Smoking - the facts behind the ban

ON July 1 smoking is going to be banned in almost all public places - pubs, clubs, restaurants, and the workplace will all be smoke free. In the first of this week's series, JAMES MARSTON asks what the smoking ban will mean.

ON July 1 smoking is going to be banned in almost all public places - pubs, clubs, restaurants, and the workplace will all be smoke free. In the first of this week's series, JAMES MARSTON asks what the smoking ban will mean.

WE all know smoking is bad for you. It stinks, it's dangerous and it's expensive.

From July non smokers will be breathing a sigh of relief as smoking in enclosed public places will be banned. Smokers meanwhile will be forced to congregate on street corners, and dread doing the same during winter months.

The new ban will cover virtually all enclosed public places including offices, factories, pubs and bars, but not outdoors or in private homes. It follows similar bans in the Irish Republic and Scotland.

It aims to reduce the health risks to non smokers from second hand smoke, as well as helping smokers control their habit. According to latest statistics 70 per cent of smokers want to stop. A hard-hitting NHS anti-smoking campaign was also launched this month revealing that the average smoker needs over 5,000 cigarettes a year to feed their habit.

The cost of implementing the ban has been estimated at about £50million and pubs and restaurants will have to display prominent “no smoking” signs around their premises.

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Health secretary Patricia Hewitt has described the ban as a “huge step forward” which will save thousands of people's lives.

Hilary Andrews, coordinator for the Suffolk Stop Smoking Service, agrees. She said: “We think the ban is a very, very positive step. Tobacco smoke is poisonous and exposure to other people is not acceptable from the health perspective.

“The ban will raise public knowledge, which will in turn influence people's smoking habits. It will give the opportunity to smokers to control their smoking if not quit completely.”

Mrs Andrews, a former smoker, said the smoking ban will help people like her remain non smokers.

She added: “A lot of people who smoke know its bad for you but they do not know the full impact it has on health. The ban will help young people who might start never take it up.”

She accepts the smoking ban will mean cultural changes: “It will be a challenge but I think the general population is supportive of the smoking ban. “Where there is resistance it's from people who are concerned about their livelihoods but we know from the experiences of other places like Ireland and Scotland that people prefer places without cigarette smoke. The impact is not detrimental to trade, and in the hospitality market it opens up the industry to people who would have stayed away because of smoke.”

As well as providing an opportunity to give up smoking, the ban is hoped to improve the health of the nation. Mrs Andrews said: “It is not the nicotine that is dangerous in cigarettes it is all the other toxins found in tobacco smoke. Carbon monoxide is the main poison but there are 4,000 different chemicals in tobacco smoke around 50 of which, including arsenic and benzine, are carcinogenic.”

What do you think of the smoking ban? Will you stop going to the pub if you can't smoke? Or is the ban long overdue? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

See tomorrow's Evening Star to find out how Suffolk pubs are preparing for the ban.

Kelly Page has been smoking since she was 15. The 28-year-old of Station Road, Ipswich, said: “It's a habit and it takes the edge off the day. I smoke about ten a day so I won't like the ban very much.

“We have managed without it so far and there are non smoking areas already in pubs and restaurants. I feel like I am being dictated to. The ban will have an impact on where I go. I enjoy smoking when I'm out so I expect I'll stay in a bit more.”

Sarah Sosnowski, 22, of Brantham, has smoked since she was 11. She said: “I smoke about five a day. I enjoy smoking with a drink but its mostly habit. The smoking ban will be annoying and in the summer I'll stand outside and smoke. I don't think it will stop me but I can see the point of the ban. I don't smoke indoors with my boyfriend as he doesn't smoke. You affect other people by smoking.”

Will Rodwell, 26, of Oxford Road, Ipswich, said he has been smoking for just over ten years.

He said: “I think the ban is inevitable but I can see sense in it even as a smoker. I'd rather they didn't ban it but I'm sympathetic to those that don't smoke and I don't like people smoking while I'm eating.”

Will, who smokes about six cigarettes a day, said he thinks the ban will make him smoke less.

He said: “I really enjoying smoking when I'm drinking and for me a cigarette and beer go hand in hand but I doubt the ban will stop me but I might not smoke so much when I'm out because of the effort of going outside.”

A 20-a-day habit costs an estimated £1,825 a year.

YOU are four times more likely to quit if you use an NHS stop smoking service.

The Suffolk Stop Smoking Service is funded by the NHS so is free and is here to help smokers improve their chances of successfully quitting.

Mrs Andrews said: “We know that the right support, the right treatment and the right frame of mind are key elements of successfully becoming smoke free.

“The NHS can supply the support and the treatment with the smokers coming with the right frame of mind. Services are available in a number of ways and we are starting a new Saturday morning drop in clinic at the main library in Ipswich between 10am and 12pm every Saturday from January 6. No appointment is necessary.

“We can either offer direct support at the time or direct people to the most appropriate service for them which includes group support, one to one support, support through community pharmacies and GP surgeries.”

Freephone 0800 0856037.

Short term effects of second hand smoke include shortness of breath, wheeze, cough, nausea, headache and irritation to the eyes.

Increase the risk of lung cancer by 20-30pc in people who live with smokers.

Increase the risk of coronary heart disease by 25-30pc.

The British Medical Association estimate that at least 1,000 people die each year in the UK of lung cancer from exposure to secondhand smoke.

Smoking around children has been linked in scientific studies to increased likelihood of sudden infant death syndrome, asthma, and middle ear disease.

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