Hewitt in battle for smoking rooms

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Indy Lifestyle Online

A revolt is brewing in Cabinet over plans for smoking rooms in pubs and clubs, with the Secretary of State for Health pitted against the Secretary of State for Culture.

Patricia Hewitt is facing a battle tomorrow to win support for smoking rooms, but Tessa Jowell is leading the revolt against the "smoking carriage" compromise.

Ms Hewitt believes she has Tony Blair's support and will introduce legislation to Parliament on Wednesday if it is agreed.

A Department of Health source confirmed yesterday that she believes smoking rooms are the best way of persuading the public to accept the ban. Clubs and pubs in England and Wales would be forced to restrict smoking to specific rooms. The source said: "In 30 years time we will see the difference in cancer rates."

Ms Jowell has reportedly written to the anti-smoking campaign group ASH setting out her opposition to the loophole. She is thought to be backed in Cabinet by David Blunkett and David Miliband. However, Ms Hewitt is believed to be supported by her predecessor, John Reid.

Labour proposed banning smoking in all public places where food was served in the party's election manifesto but that has since been deemed unworkable.

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