June 29, 2010 - Three years after the smoking ban controversially came into force in England, a substantial proportion of smokers want to see restrictions extended to children's play areas and smoking in cars. Just under half of smokers support a ban in play areas, while 61% support a ban in cars with children.
Surveys by YouGov, commissioned by the anti-smoking organisation Ash, suggest the ban is increasingly popular with the public as a whole. More than three out of four people want it to be extended into other areas of public life, a statistic that is likely to be seized upon by health campaigners.
Around 80% of people in England now back the ban in workplaces, including pubs and restaurants, compared with just over 70% when it was implemented three years ago this week (a ban was introduced in Scotland in 2006). Among the general population, 73% support a ban in children's play areas while 77% want a ban in cars carrying children, according to exclusive findings of the survey shared with the Observer.
Smoke-free legislation was enforce across the UK by July 2007 (England - July 1, 2007, Scotland - March 26, 2006, Wales - April 2, 2007, Northern Ireland - April 30, 2007).
The findings are based on five separate surveys carried out by YouGov. The first was conducted in April 2007, almost three months before the legislation came into force, and the last was carried out in March 2010. The polling suggests some of the greatest changes have taken place in the attitudes of smokers.
Directly related news brief:
United Kingdom survey results adults back proposals to protect children from tobacco..;
Britain - 86 percent would support ban on smoking in cars when kids are present..
Dame [used formerly as a courtesy title for a woman in authority] Helena Shovelton, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said the findings showed the government had to act. "Smoking just one cigarette, even with the car window open, creates a greater concentration of secondhand smoke than a whole evening's smoking in a pub or a bar," Shovelton said. "A ban on smoking in the car with children would prevent some of the 22,000 new cases each year of asthma, caused as a direct result of passive smoking. This overwhelming evidence of public support can no longer be ignored, and as the only UK charity supporting everyone affected by lung disease we are calling for this legislation." An early day motion in parliament demanding a ban on smoking in cars where children are present has been signed by 40 MPs.
Reference: Smokers back extension of ban to play areas and cars carrying children Surveys find major shift in attitudes since restrictions on smoking in public places were brought in across Britain three years ago, Jamie Doward, Guardian.co.uk - The Observer, 6/27/2010.