World-wide restrictions on tobacco increase

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The Independent Online
WORLD-WIDE, the tide of opinion has turned against the smoker, writes Kathy Marks. In Singapore, which aims to become the world's first smoke-free city, lighting up is banned in most public places, vending machines are illegal and sponsorship by tobacco companies is non-existent. Only 16 per cent of the population smoke.

In France, legislation has transformed enclosed areas such as workplaces into smoke-free zones. The ban also affects small cafes and restaurants unable to meet the requirement to provide designated smoking areas.

Smokers have long been regarded as social outcasts in the US, where cigarettes are outlawed in most offices, several airports and on all internal flights.

A Supreme Court ruling last June that health warnings on cigarette packets do not automatically protect manufacturers from litigation sent a shiver through the tobacco industry.

The decision was based on the case of Rose Cippollone, a New Jersey woman whose family sued three cigarette companies after she died of lung cancer in 1984. They dropped their suit but the industry faces 50 outstanding personal injury cases.

Yesterday's award to Veronica Bland follows a court decision in Australia last May, when a Sydney woman won Adollars 85,000 ( pounds 35,000) from her employer for exposing her to passive smoking.

Australia, like Canada, Portugal, Belgium and Ireland, restricts smoking in public places. In Germany, restrictions are confined to the provision of non-smoking carriages in trains and smoke-free zones in restaurants. In Italy, cigarettes are banned from theatres and public transport.