Briefing: England prepares for the smoking ban

It's out with the ashtrays and in with fresh air, but hardened addicts will puff their way through the final week of freedom at last-ditch 'smoke-ins'


Why is smoking in public being banned?

Medical experts agree that secondhand smoke kills and that there is no safe level of exposure. The growing concerns over the health risks of passive smoking, which accounts for more than 12,000 deaths in the UK each year, are behind the ban on smoking in public places, which comes into effect from 6am next Sunday.

Next week it will be illegal to smoke in almost all enclosed public spaces across England - including workplaces such as pubs, cinemas, offices, factories and public transport. Outdoor smoking shelters will need to have at least half the area open to the elements to avoid being termed an enclosed space. Anyone wanting to report smokers breaking the law will be able to call a freephone hotline, 0800 587 1667.

Ninety-five per cent of people are aware of the new law, and it has the support of more than 70 per cent of regular pub-goers, according to a new Department of Health survey.

Are there any loopholes?

People will still be allowed to smoke outside and at home. This will include parts of residential care homes, barracks, psychiatric hospitals and prisons. Hotel guests can light up if they book into a smoking room. And performers will be able to smoke if it is necessary for "artistic integrity". The Commons and Lords have committed to going smoke free from 1 July.

Doomsday predictions of the effects on business have yet to materialise; restaurants and pubs are gearing up for a surge in non-smoking customers.

How will it be policed?

There'll be a softly-softly approach. Most local authorities have only recruited a few temporary staff to deal with the ban; the Government hopes it will be self-regulated. Smokers who defy the banface a fine of up to £200. Businesses that fail to display no-smoking signs or that turn a blind eye could be fined £2,500. Ironically, Cherie Blair has been hired to help a London nightclub owner fight the ban in the courts.

Anti-smoking campaigners claim four million smokers will use the ban to try to quit, but the Department of Health estimates that less than 10 per cent of England's 10 million smokers will give up. Each year, smoking causes more than 100,000 deaths in the UK and costs the NHS about £1.7bn.

How are smokers celebrating their last week of freedom?

A number of "smoke-ins" will take place - with a "Revolt in Style" smoking dinner organised by smoking group Forest at the Savoy in London tomorrow. In contrast, Smokefree England is running events to welcome the ban.

Where else has smoking been banned?

England will be the last part of the UK to bring in a smoking ban, following Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Smoking has also been banned in a number of public places in countries such as Ireland, New Zealand and Norway, as well as parts of Australia, Canada and the United States.

What's next?

Smokers will be prevented from fostering young children under new guidelines to be published on the day the smoking ban comes into force. Employers are encouraged to give people time off to go to stop-smoking clinics. Many local authorities no longer allow staff to have cigarette breaks and Liverpool City Council is threatening to boycott smokers who refuse to stop smoking during home visits from council staff.

News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam