Department of Health and Social Care
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Smokefree England: One year on

Smokefree England: One year on

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH News Release (01070801) issued by The Government News Network on 1 July 2008

NEW REPORT SHOWS BENEFITS TO HEALTH

More people are trying to quit smoking, the air in pubs and bars is cleaner and rates of compliance with smokefree laws remain high, according to a new survey looking at the first year of Smokefree England, published today.

The report Smokefree England: One Year On summarises key findings from businesses, health workers and the public regarding the Smokefree legislation which was introduced one year ago today.

The key findings are:

One year on Smokefree legislation has been a big success and changed lives - including healthier environments for people whose jobs exposed them to second hand smoke.

Smokefree England has extensive public support - 76 per cent of people and 55 per cent of smokers reporting that they supported the law; and 98 per cent of all premises and vehicles that were inspected comply with the law

Exposure for bar workers to hazardous secondhand smoke has been reduced by 76 per cent. Prior to smokefree legislation, non-smoking bar workers were found to be inhaling up to six times as much cigarette smoke as the average non-smoker

Compliance rates are high: 98 per cent of all premises and vehicles inspected were smokefree in accordance with the law.

Smokefree law has created a more supportive environment to help smokers quit the habit with a 22 per cent increase in the number of people quitting with local NHS Stop Smoking Services compared to the same period in 2006/07 between April and December last year.

Minister for Public Health, Dawn Primarolo said:

"We introduced this law one year ago to cut people's exposure to secondhand smoke. It's clear the law is working. Bar workers are inhaling far less smoke and most people think the law has had a positive effect on the country's health.

"This could not have been done without the tireless work and support of local authorities, business and health campaigners. I also commend smokers themselves for their willingness to protect the health of others by so readily complying with the law".

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

"The implementation of smokefree law in the workplace was one of the biggest occupational health measures for decades. It was estimated that every year up to 700 workers were killed by having to breathe other people's tobacco fumes. That is going to mean, in future, 700 lives will be saved every single year."

The Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson said:

"A year ago today in England, we took one of the most important steps forward in public health for many years. One year on and the smokefree law has been accepted by the general public and businesses alike.

"We must do more if we are to continue to reduce the harm of tobacco use in our communities. Measures such as the introduction of picture pack warnings this autumn and the current consultation on the future of tobacco control are essential to keep up the momentum to create a truly smokefree future". Professor Robert West, Cancer Research UK's director of tobacco studies based at UCL, presented findings yesterday from the Smokers' Toolkit Study at the UK National Smoking Cessation Conference in Birmingham. Results show that the smokefree law in England has helped more smokers to quit than ever before and will help prevent an estimated 40,000 deaths over the next 10 years.

In 2007 the age of sale of tobacco was increased from 16 to 18 years and hard hitting picture warnings will appear on all tobacco products produced for the UK market from 1 October 2008.

Notes to editors:

The report Smokefree England - One Year On can be found at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/tobacco

The bar workers statistics are interim results from the academic study: 'Smokefree Bars 07', that can be downloaded at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/tobacco. Full details of other elements of the study, extending through to summer 2008 will be presented in the final report in autumn 2008.

Smoking is estimated to cause 87,000 deaths in England alone each year, the equivalent of the population of Durham. This means that smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in England. Reducing smoking prevalence remains a public health priority.

The Department of Health's Consultation on the future of tobacco control is a full public consultation that will be open for responses from any interested parties until 8 September 2008. The consultation can be downloaded at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/liveconsultations

Visit http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/news/archive/pressreleases/ to access the Cancer Research UK press release.

6. For more information on the UK National Smoking Cessation Conference taking place in Birmingham please visit http://www.uknscc.org

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