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    18 February, 2005

    Smoking Poll closed

    I have now closed the poll on attitudes to smoking. The final results were:

    - ban smoking in restaurants only 8.9%
    - ban in restaurants, pubs, bars 28.57%
    - be banned in private clubs 0%
    - be banned in all these 39.29%
    - not be banned at all 23.21%

    I do not for one minute pretend that this result is scientific. The debate will go on. Last week publicans from the Rhondda - in most cases, small family-owned pubs - came to see me. They are worried for their livelihoods. The National Assembly has established a committee to look at the issues involved in a ban, and is visiting Ireland to look at experience there. The Assembly does not at present have the powers to ban smoking, but MPs may give us that right in due course. I will await the report and will be happy to hear views on the subject.

    I am not a smoker myself, and have never smoked. As an asthmatic, I avoid smoky places. As I said to the publicans, I do not believe that the medical evidence on smoking is in dispute. I told the publicans and Brains' brewers that they would be doing themselves no favours if they ally themselves with the tobacco manufacturers or the pro-smoking groups like FOREST.


    Peter Black said...

    The interesting thing about the Irish experience is that they did not express their ban in the same way as your poll. They concentrated exclusively on health and safety issues and the health of workers in the workplace. In that way they achieved a virtual consensus for their legislation. The other thing that impressed the Committee on its visit to Ireland was the sheer thoroughness of the planning for the ban that led to a 94% compliance rate, a rate that still holds good. See my blog at peterblack.blogspot.com for more details of the visit.

    Leighton Andrews said...

    Thanks Peter.

    I look forward to reading the committee's report.

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