After the smoking ban came into force in July 2007, hospital admissions for heart attacks in England dropped by 2.4%, according to a Bath University study. Photograph: David Sillitoe
Five years after the English smoking ban drove nicotine addicts out of pubs and on to pavements, the fug-filled restaurants and bars are a hazy memory. But it is not just our clothes that smell better – evidence is accumulating to show the UK population is in better health too.
The ban did not, as opponents warned, drive people out of pubs and into their homes to smoke. If anything, the ban, which brought more awareness of the dangers of secondhand smoke to friends and family as well as a greater degree of social disapproval, appears to have encouraged people to try to cut down.
A review of the benefits by Professor Linda Bauld of Bath University, published last year, found “no significant evidence of increased smoking at home among study participants after the law was in place. In contrast, some participants increased restrictions on smoking at home.”
The big worry was that an increase in smoking at home would harm children. But a study carried out in Scotland, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2010, suggested their health had improved. Fewer have been admitted to hospital with asthma attacks since the Scottish ban on 26 March 2006, more than a year before its English counterpart.
The researchers looked at more than 21,000 asthma admissions between 2000 and 2009 for children under 15 years. Before the legislation, admissions among preschoolers were rising by more than 9% a year, while for older children they were stable. After the ban, they dropped by 18.4% for preschool children and 20.8% for those aged five to 14.
The authors admit they do not know if parents of the children smoked, so there is no direct link to the ban, and the admissions drop may have another cause, but they say: “We are not aware of any national educational campaigns, changes in healthcare delivery or clinical management, or changes in other exposures, such as air pollution, that coincided with the date on which the legislation was introduced.”
The biggest health impact has been a drop in heart attack emergency admissions – the “Montana effect”, which has since been identified in many other places that have brought in smoking bans. Helena, in Montana, introduced a smoking ban in June 2002, but it was scrapped that December. In those six months, however, researchers publishing in the British Medical Journal found a drop in heart attack admissions to hospital.
Anna Gilmore and her colleagues, at Bath’s school for health, analysed heart attack hospital admissions for England between July 2002 and September 2008 and found a significant drop of 2.4% after the July 2007 ban. It was the equivalent of 1,200 fewer heart attack patients, they said in their paper in the BMJ.
It was a considerably smaller drop in admissions than that found in a study in Scotland by Jill Pell and colleagues. In her review Baud suggested that either less secondhand smoke was being inhaled in England before the ban than in Scotland, or the authors of the Scottish study did not take into account other reasons for declining coronary rates.
But overall, it is clear that smoking bans have made a difference to heart health. A Cochrane review, which scrutinised the data from 10 studies from North America, Italy and Scotland, found a drop in hospital heart attack admissions in all of them and a drop in the numbers of deaths in two.
Peers yesterday gave a second reading to a Bill proposed by Lord Ribiero, the ex-president of the Royal College of Surgeons, which would ban smoking in cars containing children, raising hopes among campaigners that it may secure enough support to pass the Lords and be discussed by MPs.
It will take many more years to find out what the effect is on preventing cancers and lung diseases, which take much longer to show up.
Robin Hewings, Cancer Research UK’s tobacco control manager, said the smokefree legislation had already saved lives.
“Although we won’t see a reduction in cancer rates for some years to come, the health gains that we have seen are very encouraging – such as the reduction in admissions to hospital for heart attacks. People no longer have to breathe cancer-causing chemicals from smoky air in their workplace. The law banning smoking in public places triggered around 300,000 smokers to try to kick the habit. There are now fewer public triggers that might tempt a smoker to fall off the wagon.”
Hewings said the ban had changed the social norms around smoking indoors.
“Research has shown that far fewer people now allow smoking in their own homes – meaning that more children are benefiting from a smokefree environment too.”
Meanwhile, according to new polling data which Cancer Research UK says shows “shocking levels of ignorance about smoking and cancer”, it has emerged that fewer than one in five people realise that smoking causes many different forms of cancer. In a YouGov poll of 4,099 adults, weighted to make it representative of the UK population, only 12% knew that smoking can cause ovarian cancer, while the proportions who knew that smoking was linked to cancer of the bowel (13%), cervix (13%), kidney (15%) and liver (19%) were almost as small. However, 89% knew it can cause lung cancer.
Saturday 30 June 2012
Cancer Research UK Press Release
Cancer Research UK today reveals the shocking level of ignorance about smoking and cancer among the UK public in a comprehensive new survey* of more than 4000 people.
When asked to select cancers linked to smoking, more than 80 per cent of people did not know there was a link between smoking and eight different cancers.
At least two thirds of the 4,099** people surveyed knew smoking caused cancers of the lung, mouth (oral)and throat (larynx and oesophagus). But less than 20 per cent knew tobacco was linked to leukaemia and cancers of the liver, pancreas, bowel (colorectum), kidney, bladder, cervix, and ovary.
And less than 40 per cent knew that stomach cancer is linked to smoking.
Cigarette smoke contains a toxic cocktail of more than 70 cancer-causing chemicals. When a cigarette is smoked, these chemicals can enter the bloodstream and travel around the body, increasing the risk of cancer in more than a dozen different locations.
Professor Robert West, Cancer Research UK’s quit smoking expert, said: “Nearly everyone knows that smoking causes lung cancer. And smokers may often gamble with their chance of developing the disease. The addiction can lead people to reason that they might avoid lung cancer. But the odds aren’t good. And these alarming results show what could be a fatal level of ignorance about the toxic hit list from tobacco. There are only two options to eliminate illness caused by smoking: help smokers to quit and stop young people from starting to smoke.”
The figures are released on the eve of England’s five year anniversary of pubs, bars and all public spaces going smoke free – Sunday, 1st July. Seen as a success by the health community and enjoying massive public support, the UK government is now consulting on whether to remove the brightly coloured, slickly designed tobacco packaging.
Current packaging would be replaced with packs of standard size, shape and colouring, all designed to make cigarettes less appealing to children and give health warnings more impact.
Smoking is by far the most important preventable risk factor for cancer in the UK, responsible for nearly a fifth of all new cancer cases – around 60 000 – in the UK in 2010***.
Smoking causes more than a quarter (28 per cent) of all deaths from cancer in the UK – around 43,000 deaths in 2009 – and has killed an estimated 6.5 million people in the UK over the last 50 years.
Jean King, Cancer Research UK’s director of tobacco control, said: “The list of cancers linked to smoking is truly shocking. It’s a long list of body parts that are affected, reflecting just how deadly tobacco is. One of the major problems with smoking is the strength of the addiction. Once a smoker is hooked it can be extremely difficult and take years to quit. The longer a person smokes, the greater the risk of illness.”
Around half of all long-term smokers will die from cancer or other smoking-related illnesses. And a quarter of smokers die in middle age – between 35 and 69.
Around 20 per cent of the UK population smoke. Eight out of ten smokers start smoking by the time they turn 19 and around 157,000 11-15 year olds started smoking in the UK in 2010.
Jean King continued: “The key to reducing the number of lives blighted by tobacco is to prevent young people from starting smoking in the first place. Reducing the appeal of cigarettes is vital to this goal. Plain packaging of tobacco is the vital next step. Replacing the slickly designed, brightly coloured cigarette packaging with packs of standard size, shape and colour will give millions of children one less reason to start smoking. With the government consulting on the future of tobacco packaging, we urge everyone to show their support for this measure and sign our petition at www.theanswerisplain.org.”
For media enquiries contact the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 3469 8300 or, out of hours, on 07050 264 059.
efficient anti tobacco legislation saves lives – licence the vendors and make liquor licensees and premises’ managers liable to enforce anti smoking laws or – lose their licences to operate
Tobacco-Related Cancers Fact Sheet
• Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States for both men and women. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2012)
• Lung cancer is the most preventable form of cancer death in our society. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2012)
• Lung cancer estimates for 2012 (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2012):
• New cases of lung cancer: 226,160
• Deaths from lung cancer: 160,340
• Besides lung cancer, tobacco use also increases the risk for cancers of the mouth, lips, nasal cavity (nose) and sinuses, larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, uterus, cervix, colon/rectum, ovary (mucinous), and acute myeloid leukemia. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2012)
• In the United States, tobacco use is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 deaths; this equals about 443,000 early deaths each year. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2012)
• Tobacco use accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths and 80% of lung cancer deaths. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2012)
• Cigarette use has had a dramatic decline since the release of the first US Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health in 1964. Even so, about 22% of men and 17% of women still smoked cigarettes in 2010, with almost 80% of these people smoking daily. (Source: CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 9/10/10)
• Cigarette smoking among adults age 18 and older went down 50% between 1965 and 2009 – from 42% to 21% – but nearly 47 million Americans still smoke. (Source: CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 9/10/10)
• Cigars contain many of the same carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) found in cigarettes. Between 1997 and 2007, sales of little cigars had increased by 240%, while large cigar sales decreased by 6%. Cigar smoking causes cancers of the lung, mouth, throat, larynx (voice box), esophagus (swallowing tube), and probably the pancreas. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2012)
• Little cigars are about the same size and shape as cigarettes, come in packs of 20, but unlike cigarettes, they can be candy or fruit flavored. In most states, they cost much less than cigarettes, making them affordable to youth. A 2009 CDC survey found that about 27% of 12th grade boys and about 10% of the 12th grade girls had smoked cigars in the past 30 days. (Sources: Cancer Facts & Figures 2011; CDC Morbidity and Mortality Surveillance Summary, 6/4/10)
• In 1997, nearly half (48%) of male high school students and more than one-third (36%) of female students reported using some form of tobacco – cigarettes, cigars, or smokeless tobacco products – in the past month. The percentages went down to 30% for male students and 22% for female students in 2009. But among 12th graders, 40% of the boys and 26% of the girls had used tobacco in the past month. (Sources: Cancer Facts & Figures 2010; CDC Morbidity and Mortality Surveillance Summary, 6/4/10)
• Each year, about 3,400 non-smoking adults die of lung cancer as a result of breathing secondhand smoke. Each year secondhand smoke also causes about 46,000 deaths from heart disease in people who are not current smokers. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2012)
• Among adults age 18 and older, national data from 2009 showed 7% of men and less than 1% of women were current users of smokeless tobacco. Nationwide, about 15% of US male high school students and more than 2% of female high school students were using chewing tobacco, snuff, or dip in 2009. (Sources: Cancer Facts & Figures 2011; CDC Morbidity and Mortality Surveillance Summary, 6/4/10)
• Smokeless tobacco products are a major source of cancer-causing nitrosamines and a known cause of human cancer. They increase the risk of developing cancer of the mouth and throat, esophagus (swallowing tube), and pancreas. (Source: Cancer Prevention & Early Detection Facts and Figures 2010)
• Smokeless tobacco products are less lethal but are not a safe alternative to smoking. Using smokeless tobacco can lead to nicotine addiction. Use of tobacco in any form harms health. (Source: Cancer Prevention & Early Detection Facts and Figures 2010)
• Between 2000 and 2004, smoking caused more than $193 billion in annual health-related costs in the United States, including smoking-attributable medical costs and productivity losses. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2012)
Last Medical Review: 11/16/2011
Last Revised: 11/16/2011
Passive Smoking Tied To Type 2 Diabetes, Obesity
If you need another reason to steer clear of cigarette smoke, consider
this: a new study presented at a conference this week suggests breathing
in secondhand smoke is linked to higher risks of developing type 2
diabetes and obesity.
Presented on Sunday at The Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting in
Houston, the findings show that adults exposed to secondhand smoke have
higher rates of these diseases than non-smokers who are not exposed to
Co-author Dr Theodore C Friedman, chairman of the Department of Internal
Medicine at Charles R Drew University in Los Angeles, told the press:
“More effort needs to be made to reduce exposure of individuals to
For the study, Friedman and colleagues used data from a nationally
representative sample of more than 6,300 adults who took part in the US
National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 2001
As well as answering questions about smoking, the participants had also
given blood samples, from which various measures were taken, including
levels of cotinine, an alkaloid found in tobacco that is also a metabolic
byproduct of nicotine. The researchers used this to verify passive
Friedman explained that while other studies have shown a link between
type 2 diabetes and secondhand or passive smoking, none of them had used
a blood marker to confirm the results.
25% of the participants in Friedman’s study were current smokers, which
he and his colleagues classed as those participants who said “yes” when
asked “Do you smoke cigarettes?” and whose cotinine levels were above 3
nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL).
41% of the sample were classed as non-smokers. These were participants
who answered “no” when asked “Do you smoke cigarettes?”, and whose
cotinine levels were under 0.05 ng/mL.
34% of the sample were classed as secondhand smokers. These had also
answered “no” to the current smoking question, but their blood cotinine
levels were above 0.05 ng/mL.
After adjusting the results to rule out any effects from age, sex, race,
alcohol consumption and exercise, the researchers found that compared to
non-smokers, secondhand smokers showed signs of a number of factors that
can lead to type 2 diabetes, such raised insulin resistance, elevated
fasting blood glucose or blood sugar, and higher hemoglobin A1c, a
measure of blood sugar control over the past three months.
Secondhand smokers also had a higher rate of type 2 diabetes, which the
researchers classed as having a hemoglobin A1c count above 6.5%. The rate
of type 2 diabetes in the secondhand smokers was similar to that of the
current smokers, said the researchers.
Levels of Body Mass Index (BMI), a measure of obesity, were higher among
secondhand smokers than non-smokers, and although current smokers had
lower BMI, their higher hemoglobin A1c was higher.
And when they adjusted the figures to rule out the effect of BMI,
Friedman and colleagues found that levels of hemoglobin A1c in secondhand
smokers and current smokers were still higher than in non-smokers.
Friedman said these results show “that the association between secondhand
smoke and type 2 diabetes was not due to obesity”.
He called for further studies to investigate whether secondhand smoke
actually causes type 2 diabetes.
Written by Catharine Paddock
Copyright: Medical News Today
KATHMANDU: The Metropolitan Police Range Hanumandhoka in coordination
with the Kathmandu District Administration Office (KDAO) is slapping on
people smoking in public places penalty ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 1 lakh.
DSP Dhiraj Pratap Singh, spokesperson for the range, informed they have
not fined anyone for smoking in public areas till date.
Police have kept a record of smokers arrested on the first and the second
day of the crackdown. Singh said they are also taking classes to educate
people on the harmful effects of the tobacco.
Police release the offenders three hours after their attention. Singh
said they will not spare repeat offenders and they will have to pay steep
Since Wednesday, the day the crackdown began, police have arrested 247
for the smoking offence. The anti-smoking law defines government offices,
corporations, educational institutions, libraries, airports, public
vehicles, orphanages, childcare centres, cinema halls, elderly homes,
cultural centres, children’s parks, hotels, restaurants, resorts,
hostels, department stores, religious sites and industries as public
places, prohibiting the sale and distribution of tobacco-related products
in these areas. The Anti-Tobacco Act-2010, which the Parliament passed in
April 2011 and took effect from August 2011, has it that individuals and
firms, which breach the law, will have to pay a fine of Rs 100 to 100,000
depending on the nature of violations. The Act has also made mandatory to
allocate 75 per cent of the space on cigarette packs or wrappers for
pictorial health warning.
Komal Acharya, member-secretary of the policy framework committee on
anti-tobacco act, said they are working in close coordination with KDAO
and the metropolitan police for effective implementation of the act.
He said the police crackdown on smoking in public places is in keeping
with the act.
Every year 16,000 people die because of tobacco consumption in Nepal, 90
per cent of them from lung cancer, according to records at hospitals.
Twenty-nine per cent smokers are females and 49 per cent are male. There
are 38 tobacco factories in the country and four per cent of the total
income goes on tobacco consumption.
According to the Nepal Demographic Health Survey 2011, 52 per cent male
and 13.3 per cent female (15-49) use tobacco.
HKG needs to place the legal onus on licensees to prevent smoking in their premises -or nothing will change and licensees will continue to encourage smokers to snatch business from law abiders
1:15pm Saturday 30th June 2012
A LANDLADY has been ordered to pay almost £500 after she and several drinkers at her pub were caught smoking.
Sara Anne Moorcroft, who is in charge of the Cross Guns in Deane Road, Deane, had a cigarette in her hand when police and licensing officers raided the pub.
Several customers were also smoking in the lounge area when the raid happened just after 2am on February 18.
Now Moorcroft, aged 45, has been fined and ordered to pay legal costs, leaving her with a bill for £495.
Her conviction comes almost five years to the day after smoking was banned in all workplaces across the country.
While the council hailed the result of her court case yesterday, pro-smoking lobbyists condemned the move as “draconian”. Moorcroft appeared at Bolton Magistrates Court on Wednesday, where she admitted failing to prevent smoking in a smoke-free premises.
Every customer who was caught smoking in the pub was also given a £50 fine.
Moorcroft, who lives at the pub and is the designated premises supervisor and licence holder, declined to comment when The Bolton News contacted her.
However, she was backed by pub landlord Nick Hogan, who was jailed for letting customers smoke at the Swan Inn, in Churchgate, Bolton.
Mr Hogan, who now runs the Swan With Two Necks pub in Chorley, said: “Everything I predicted in 2007 has come true. The loss of pubs has been phenomenal. Bolton town centre is no longer the vibrant place it used to be.
“To be fining people operating their own businesses, with the consent of their customers, is draconian. This woman is probably trying to make her business work and has bills to pay. Tobacco is still a legal product.”
Mr Hogan was fined by Bolton magistrates after he was found guilty of breaching the smoking ban in January, 2008, for allowing customers to smoke in his pub. He was jailed in 2010 for failing to pay those fines, only to be released when an internet campaign raised more than £10,000. Simon Clark, director of smokers’ lobbying group Forest, said: “These are consenting adults and a pub is a private property.”
Since the smoking ban was introduced on July 1, 2007, any place of work which is open to the public and enclosed must be smokefree.
Cllr Nick Peel said: “There are still some business owners who continue to disregard the Act. In this case, the business owner was not only allowing smoking, but was caught in the act of smoking herself and we are pleased with the substantial fine awarded.”
© Copyright 2001-2012 Newsquest Media Group
A ban on smoking near operable windows means residents in a 125-unit building at 200 Lett St. would not be able to light up on their balconies. But resident Scott Sigurdson says the message, posted near the elevators on the parking garage’s first level, is vague enough to make him wonder how many others who live there have caught on.
Photograph by: Pat McGrath , The Ottawa Citizen
OTTAWA — Residents at a LeBreton Flats condominium building should be asking questions about a lone sign that went up sometime in the past couple of weeks in their parking garage.
It says smoking is forbidden “in common areas or within 25 feet of main entrances, exits or operable windows.”
A ban on smoking near operable windows means residents in the 125-unit building at 200 Lett St. would not be able to light up on their balconies. But resident Scott Sigurdson says the message, posted near the elevators on the parking garage’s first level, is vague enough to make him wonder how many others who live there have caught on.
It also isn’t clear who is behind the sign or whether it has any legal bite. Perhaps that might be the reason no one is swinging a heavy hammer to try to enforce the rule. Sigurdson, furious at the idea, figures whoever is behind it may just be waiting to see how residents react before going any further.
Is Claridge Homes, the building’s developer, trying to stop balcony smoking? Can it?
The company transferred ownership of the building to the condominium corporation about two years ago. Claridge refuses to talk, though it is believed the company is seeking a “green” designation for the building in order to bolster its environmentally-friendly portfolio. A smoking ban could help it in its goal.
What about the condo corporation’s board of directors? It asked the board’s safety and security committee last winter to consider a recommendation to disallow balcony smoking, but was rebuffed.
Dave Rushton, board vice president, says he has “second-hand” information that Claridge work crews put up the sign. He also says the board is in the process of coming up with a no-smoking rule for common areas but is not considering one for balconies and patios, at least for now. Ontario law already forbids smoking in common areas of residential buildings, such as foyers, meeting rooms and parking garages — so why bother?
Sigurdson says the building’s superintendent, whose office is beside the elevators, told him he saw Claridge workers install the sign. Yet Claridge vice president Neil Malhotra refuses to comment “as this matter appears to be a dispute among condo owners.”
Sigurdson is not a smoker, but he is mighty miffed, especially as the condo wasn’t advertised as a “non-smoking building” when he bought his unit two years ago. Rushton says the condo board cannot stop smokers from lighting up in their units. But he believes it does have that right for balconies and patios.
Rushton says condo balconies and patios in his building are considered “common areas” and belong to the condominium corporation, which is responsible for maintenance and repairs. However, they are for the “exclusive use” of the owners in the adjoining units. The condo board decides what activities are permitted on them, such as barbecuing and smoking.
Sigurdson, however, is drafting a letter that he plans to “slip under” every door in the building, detailing the negative implications of such a ban.
He says he has plans to sell his condo in a couple of years and believes the value of the unit would drop because a ban would “reduce the pool of potential purchasers.”
He also says the balcony is convenient for friends who smoke. He doesn’t want them puffing away in his unit. But he doesn’t want them to have to “walk across the street” to smoke, either.
What’s the big deal about smoking on a balcony, he asks, as it doesn’t hurt anyone except the smoker?
“The occasional whiff of cigarette smoke that one might get from another balcony might be annoying, but to say it’s a health hazard is a little ridiculous, especially when they allow barbecues on balconies that billow smoke and make adjacent balconies uninhabitable for the duration of the cooking.”
Sigurdson figures “there are a few forces at work here.” But, he says, he’ll take them on, whether it’s Claridge, the board or both.
He says he immediately suspected the board of directors because he was a member of the board’s safety and security committee when it was asked to look into a balcony smoking ban. He says some of the five members on the board still want one.
Said Sigurdson in an email to the board on June 21: “You have no mandate to impose such restrictions on the owners of (200 Lett). I suggest you get one before attempting to impose your values on others. … (T)his would require a referendum of all the owners. I will not respect anything else. Attempt to impose this on me and you’ll have to take me to court.”
Rushton replied on June 24. He explained the sign was posted by Claridge because it is seeking LEED certification for the condo building. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and uses its trademark Green Building Rating System, which measures building performance in several areas that affect human and environmental health. Credits are given based on site development, location to surrounding communities, water efficiency, energy efficiency, building materials, durability and indoor environmental quality. The latter is where balcony smoking comes in.
Depending on the number of credits earned, buildings earn a rating of certified, gold, silver or the highest ranking, platinum.
Rushton says the board is trying to determine the scope of the smoking ban posted by Claridge, and whether it is binding.
But, he says, it appears that LEED rules are not explicit enough on smoking bans. So with or without a LEED designation, he says the posted sign may mean nothing, and the decision to ban smoking on balconies would still rest with the board.
“We haven’t made a decision,” says Rushton. “But the discussion has been and the tendency has been that we would probably not say ‘no smoking’ (on patios and balconies.) I say ‘probably’ because it’s not a formal decision yet.”
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Has the ban ruined pubs? And has it helped people to cut down? Regulars at the Union Inn in Levenshulme have their say
guardian.co.uk, Friday 29 June 2012 22.09 BST
The smoking ban was introduced in July 2007. Photograph: Roy Riley/Alamy
At the Union Inn in Levenshulme, Manchester, the smoking ban was brought in amid a lot of opposition from regulars. Now under new management, the pub, on the main road between Stockport and Manchester, has survived the cull that has seen at least five of its competitors close since the smoking ban was introduced. It was bustling on a muggy Mancunian Friday afternoon.
Graeme Jackson, 57, has been drinking at the pub on and off for 40 years. “There’ll be nothing left for the working classes with the smoking ban. Going to the pub’s an expensive hobby now. People can’t afford it anymore,” he says nursing a pint in one hand and an unlit cigarette the other.
His friend John Cherry, 50, also holding an unlit roll-up and a pint says: “It’s not the smoking ban that’s ruined pubs, it’s the recession. I’m a heavy smoker and I think the smoking ban is the best thing that’s ever happened.
“It makes it more difficult for me to smoke,” he said.
Terry Henry, 72, remembers the days when there were snugs for women drinkers, best rooms and smoking rooms in pubs. “All the men supped together and all the women were in the other room. I can’t see why they can’t have smoking rooms.”
Frank Bamber, 85, a smoker for over 70 years, thinks the smoking ban is a nonsense. “I’ve smoked for 71 years and if it’s going do me any harm, it’s already done,” he says.
“I don’t like that we’ve got to go out there to have a smoke because these people in government say so. They have subsidised prices in the House of Commons bar and need to get their own house in order before taking it out on us.” He nips out of the pub to the back yard. “Sorry, love,” he adds. “I’ve got to go for a smoke.”
It’s been five years since smokers could light up in a pub anywhere in the UK
The sight of employees smoking outdoors in all weathers is now commonplace. Smoking areas in bars, pubs, restaurants and hotels are long gone.
It is five years since England became the last part of the UK to introduce legislation banning smoking in workplaces and enclosed public spaces.
The aim was to reduce passive smoking, or exposure to secondhand smoke, which is known to be harmful.
Scotland was the first country in the UK to introduce a smokefree law in March 2006.
England’s smokefree laws came into force on 1 July 2007, with Northern Ireland on 30 April 2007 and Wales on 2 April 2007.
So what has been the impact of the legislation on our health?
Amanda Sandford, research manager from Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) says it was long overdue.
“When it started people wondered why we’d waited so long to do it. Non-smokers always found it unpleasant breathing in other people’s smoke.
Thanks to the ban many smokers are smoking and drinking at home – who can blame them when the alternative is standing outside in the wind and rain?”
End Quote Simon Clark Forest
“It is one of the most important public health acts in the last century. There’s no question it’s been hugely beneficial.”
The ban was popular with British adults when it was implemented – and a recent poll of more than 12,000 people found that 78% of adults still support it.
A review of the evidence on the impact of the law in England, was commissioned by the government and carried out by Prof Linda Bauld from the University of Stirling and the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies.
Prof Bauld’s report concluded: “The law has had a significant impact.”
“Results show benefits for health, changes in attitudes and behaviour and no clear adverse impact on the hospitality industry.”
A study of barworkers, using saliva, lung function and air quality tests, showed their respiratory health had greatly improved after the laws came in, thanks to the reduction in exposure to secondhand smoke.
Another study looking at children’s exposure to secondhand smoking in England, between 1996 and 2007, found that their exposure levels had declined by nearly 70%.
Although this study only covered a few months beyond the introduction of the smokefree laws, Prof Bauld says children’s exposure continues to decline.
Opponents of the legislation feared that it would push adults to smoke more at home, and therefore put children at greater risk of secondhand smoke.
DAMAGE CAUSED BY SMOKING
- Smokers in their 30s and 40s are five times more likely to have a heart attack than non-smokers
- Smoking contributes to coronary artery disease which increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke
- It does huge damage to the lungs and massively increases the risk of lung cancer
- Smoking also increases the risk of other cancers such as oral, uterine, liver, kidney, bladder, stomach and cervical cancer
- Exposure to secondhand smoke can reduce lung function, exacerbate respiratory problems, trigger asthma attacks, reduce coronary blood flow, irritate eyes, and cause headaches and nausea
- Smoking in pregnancy greatly increases the risk of miscarriage and is also associated with lower birth weight
But Scottish evidence suggests the reverse. A Glasgow University study showed a 15% reduction in the number of children with asthma being admitted to hospital in the three years after the ban came into force in Scotland.
Ms Sandford says smokers are now more aware about the dangers of secondhand smoke and are doing more to protect children at home.
Professor John Britton, chairman of the Royal College of Physicians’ tobacco advisory group, says the ban “has had a huge impact on quality of life particularly in people with cardiovascular disease”.
A Department of Health-funded study examining emergency admissions between July 2002 and September 2008 in England found a 2.4% reduction in admissions for heart attacks.
Breathing in secondhand smoke can increase the long-term risk, as well as the immediate risk of a heart attacks and angina, Prof Bauld says.
Research from Scotland reported a much larger 17% decrease in heart attack admissions in the year after its ban.
Another Glasgow study which looked at smoking and birth rates before and after the ban found a 10% drop in the country’s premature birth rate, which researchers linked to the smokefree laws.
Trigger to quit
But there is no evidence as yet that smokers have given up smoking in huge numbers because of the legislation.
While overall levels of smoking among adults in Great Britain remained constant at 21% between 2007 and 2009, the north east of England saw a different trend.
There, the smokefree ban proved to be a trigger for some adults to quit with the largest drop in smoking in England – from 29% in 2005 to 27% in 2007 and down to 21% by 2011.
Smokers’ groups say the ban has been a disaster for many pubs and clubs and the impact on many people’s social lives has been huge.
A total ban on smoking in cars and in public spaces where children are present has been suggested
Simon Clark, director of smokers’ lobby group Forest, said smokers were being forced to take their habit elsewhere.
“Thanks to the ban many smokers are smoking and drinking at home. Who can blame them when the alternative is standing outside in the wind and rain?”
Calling for a comprehensive review of the impact of the smoking ban, he said: “We want the government to amend the legislation to allow separate, well-ventilated smoking rooms in pubs and clubs. Few people would object to that because no-one would be exposed to other people’s smoke against their wishes.”
But others want to take smokefree laws further.
The Royal College of Physicians supports a total ban on smoking in cars and would like to see the smokefree ban extended to anywhere where children are present.
“This includes parks, outside areas and cars. We would like to see tobacco imagery taken out of children’s lives altogether,” says Prof Britton.
A private member’s bill to ban smoking in cars when children are present has been debated in the Lords recently.
Ash also supports a ban on smoking in cars but recognises the difficulties of imposing it.
“Cars are not as straightforward as the workplace because they are a private space. It does raise ethical issues, but because they are a confined space the level of smoke is concentrated.”
Prof Bauld said: “In the next 20 years we should be able to halve smoking rates.”
But that would need the introduction of plain cigarette packaging, tougher legislation on sale displays in shops, high taxes on tobacco and a crackdown on illicit tobacco, she said.
“It’s children who start smoking, not adults. We need to prevent people starting in the first place, full stop.”
06 MARCH 2012, HEALTH
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06 MARCH 2012, HEALTH