UK complies with new smoking ban

Duane Wells | August 08, 2007

LONDON — Looks like the Brits are giving up smoking in public places and not making much of a fuss about it.

Data released by the UK Department of Health revealed that 97% of premises inspected in the two weeks after July 1 were smoke free as required by a new law banning smoking in public places.

"When we introduced the smokefree law last month, we predicted that it would be largely self-enforcing based on experience elsewhere and the fact that three-quarters of the public supported the move,” said Minister of State for Public Health, Dawn Primarolo of the level of public compliance with the smoking ban.

"These figures confirm that, just as happened previously in Ireland then Scotland, England saw very high levels of compliance in the first few days. All the signs are that businesses and the public have taken the new law in their stride,” Primarolo continued.

So far, data has been collected from 88,899 inspections in England, which includes 1,090 hotels, 6,783 restaurants and 9,568 licensed premises. Enforcement officers found that 97 per cent of premises were respecting the requirement to prohibit smoking in enclosed premises and 79 per cent were displaying the correct no-smoking signage. Compliance was even higher in smokefree vehicles, with figures of 98 per cent and 84 per cent respectively.

Although these figures only relate to the first two weeks, compliance among Britons is already comparable to the high levels experienced during the first month of smokefree in Scotland and Ireland. A similar pattern has also emerged with regards to signage requirements, with 'other' premises less likely to be compliant than licensed premises, accommodation and restaurants.

Additionally, over the first month there has also been a steady downward trend in calls to the Smokefree England compliance line. In total, 2,342 calls were received during the first four weeks and 606 of these were passed on to local authorities to follow up. Calls peaked during the first week at 1,024, although only 232 of these were leads with sufficient information to pass to local councils. However only 378 calls were received during the week of 22nd July, with 110 leads passed to councils.

A new set of data on adherence to the smokefree law will be made available in mid August and will contain data for the whole month of July. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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