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Support for smoking ban continues to be strong

Published on April 4th, 2008 19:04

According to the latest Welsh Assembly Government survey 84%of adults in Wales support smoke-free public places, compared with 71% before the ban. After this survey Welsh Assembly Government is expected to focus its attention on, and try to promote, smoke-free homes, in a bid to reduce children's exposure to second-hand smoke.

Some experts didn't understand why smoking was ever permitted for so long in Wales if most of inhabitants were against tobacco use.

Dr Tony Jewell, Wales' chief medical officer, said: "The introduction of the smoking ban in enclosed public places has been a milestone for public health and the single most important measure that the Welsh Assembly Government could take to improve the health of the nation and reduce health inequalities. The research shows that this has been a popular measure. The widespread public acceptance of and support for the legislation reflects the impact of the Assembly Government's campaign to raise public awareness of the health risks of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke. We are also seeing more smokers trying to give up. The Assembly Government will continue to work with the National Public Health Service and the Smokers' Helpline Wales to ensure that support is there for smokers who want to quit."

Tanya Buchanan, director of anti-smoking group, added: "Support for the ban continues to be strong across Wales. The support from the public has been exceptional. But we need to recognize that we need to be doing much more to help the many smokers who want to stop to quit successfully."

In UK 450 children start to smoke each day. Experts think that this is an unacceptable statistic and more effort is required to prevent young people in Wales from accessing tobacco products and to assist them to quit smoking.

Wales was the first country in the UK to vote in favor of a smoking ban, but because it lacked law-making powers, the legislation was not introduced until April after Scotland and Ireland.

A quarter of the Wales population smokes and some of them smoked fewer cigarettes.

Jean King, director of tobacco control for Cancer Research UK, showed: "The smoking ban in Wales has helped to make people realize that smoking is not the norm. It has encouraged people to try and quit smoking and, most importantly, it means that all workers are protected from cancer-causing and other dangerous chemicals in smoke."

Smoking ban in Wales has been a big public health success for Wales and has been popular with the public.

Delyth Lloyd, public affairs manager for the British Heart Foundation, noted: "The smoking ban in Wales has been a historic milestone in the nation's health. BHF Wales unequivocally supports the ban on smoking in public places and I am delighted that the first year of its implementation has gone smoothly and effectively with over 95% of businesses complying with the law."

In a year or two the smokers from Wales will be wondering how they ever allowed smoking for so long in public and workplaces.