The smoking ban has gone underway and the public are still wondering whether it has become a success. Businesses are starting to collapse but yet, second hand smokers are benefitting.
In 2004, then Prime Minister, Tony Blair told a BBC programme that the Government were considering banning people to smoke in workplaces and enclosed public places (ash: 2004). This came after the news that second-hand smoke deaths had reached around 700 that year (Sparrow: 2004). Despite giving up smoking on his wedding day, the former Prime Minister believed that the smoking ban would benefit the public.
“You’ve got to have balanced decision-making in this,” he said, “On the one hand it’s something that does damage your health, but you’ve got to be careful you don’t end up with a nanny state.” (Clark: 2004)
However, it was not until 2006 that the Government announced that the smoking ban will cover the whole of the country. This was due to the fact that they were under pressure after appeals from health campaigners (Charter, Webster: 2006).
At the moment, the Government is giving a lot of support to the “No Smoking Day” appeal. Dan Tickle, Chief Executive of this organisation believes that this support has made the company effective (Tickle: 2009).
“Research has shown No Smoking Day costs well under £100 for every year of an ex-smokers life that is saved. That makes us both the most effective smoking cessation intervention and also one of the most cost effective public health measures in the UK.” He said (Tickle: 2009).
When it all happened
Scotland was the first country in the UK to take the smoking ban into effect. From 6am on the 26th March 2006 (clearingtheair: 2009), public places such as bars and restaurants would give fines and punishment to whoever smoked. A £50 penalty for example will apply to anyone smoking in enclosed places. Failure to place warnings to customer, the public place will be issued with a £200 fine (BBC: 2006).
From when the ban began to 30th April 2006, statistics showed that more than 15,000 complaints were made in just as many public places. In the last three months of 2008, the number of complaints was halved (clearingtheair: 2008).
The second British country to announce the smoking ban was Wales. However, when it started on the 2nd April 2007, punishments were a little more daunting. An “on-the-spot” £50 penalty will be issued for those who smoked in public places but also any premises that aren’t enforcing the ban will be fined £2,500 (BBC: 2007).
Twelve months later, 84% of people continued their support for the ban, an increase by 13% the previous year. Only 79 penalties were issued whilst only one business were penalised (BBC: 2008). Another twelve months after, saw the level of fines increase to 132 (smokingbanwales: 2009).
Northern Ireland followed Wales’s lead and banned smoking in public places in the end of April 2007. This comes, however three years after Republic of Ireland introduced the ban. Similar punishments were enforced with Wales (4NI: 2007).
From 1st September 2008, they increased the purchase of cigarettes from 16 to 18 years. Chris McAuley, Northern Ireland’s Tobacco Control Officer (McAuley, e-mail: 2009) has said that it’ll benefit children’s health. He has also proposed to ban displayed tobacco and vending machines which sells cigarettes. McAuley has also praised Health Minister, Shaun Woodward for his contribution to the smoking ban (McAuley: 2009)
“The Health Minister (Shaun Woodward) has shown strong leadership and long-term vision, and his name will go down in history as having done something worthwhile for the people of Northern Ireland.” He said (McAuley: 2009).
The pressure was mounted on the English after Northern Ireland decided that they would have a smoking ban in 2005. Patricia Hewitt, then Health Secretary took the plunge and prohibit smoking in public places (Chrisafis, Carvel: 2005). The ban took into effect in England from 1st July 2007 (smokefreeengland: 2009).
Although expectations were raised over the success of the smoking ban, some businesses feared loss of income. There was one place in particular made the headlines.
Sports Cafe has been a popular bar for many places. In Newcastle for example, the cafe opened in 2005 and showed main sporting events live and also a ladies-only bar. In 2008, Sports Cafe went into administration after failing to pay their £10 million debt. “Agilo” has now taken over the bar (Ford: 2009). Now, only four remain (SportsCafe: 2009). However, Marloes Holtkamp, who works at the Tobacco Policy Branch for Welsh Assembly Government denies claims that the ban is to blame for closures of pubs and restaurants (Holtkamp: 2009).
“In recent years, pubs have been under pressure from, among other things, stricter enforcement of drink driving laws and cheaper alcohol from supermarkets encouraging drinking at home.” She said (Holtkamp: 2009)
A month before the smoking ban in England, up to 200 landlords planned “a day of defiance”. They had also threatened to break the law on the first day of the ban on July 1st. Although the Government admitted that the ban would cost £1.6 billion, the profits would be a benefit to the nation with a net up to £2.1 billion (Lusher, Goslett: 2007).
It has been said that 40,000 lives had been saved and 400,000 people quitting smoking altogether in 2008 (Laurance: 2008). However, there are still a high amount of children starting to smoke, despite the percentages decreasing all the time (NHS: 2008).
This is why BUPA have announced a new Facebook application, “QuitClock”. For members of this social networking site, this can help keep track of the amount of smoking they consume a day and offers at a glance how much money they can save if they didn’t purchase any cigarettes. It gives them support and positive feedback (medicalnews: 2009). There are currently 295 active monthly members (Facebook: 2009). This application is also available via the “No Smoking Day” Facebook page (Tickle: 2009).
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Bibliography and references
Ash. 2004. Health campaigners welcome Blair smoking comments [Online] (Updated: 4 June). Available at: http://www.ash.org.uk/ash_wj60sn87.htm [Accessed: 12 November 2009]
BBC. 2006. Scotland begins pub smoking ban [Online] (Updated: 26 March). Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4845260.stm [Accessed: 12 November 2009]
BBC. 2007. Wales starts public smoking ban [Online] (Updated: 2 April). Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/6511431.stm [Accessed: 12 November 2009]
BBC. 2008. 80 penalties given in smoking ban [Online] (Updated: 2 April). Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7324402.stm [Accessed: 12 November 2009]
Charter, D. & Webster, P., 2006. “Britain gives up smoking” The Times, [internet] 15 February. Available at: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article730913.ece [Accessed: 12 November 2009]
Chrisafis, A. & Carvel, J., 2005. “Northern Ireland smoking ban puts pressure on England to toe the line” The Guardian, [internet] 18 October. Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/oct/18/northernireland.smoking [Accessed: 13 November 2009]
Clark, R., 2004. “Cherie made Tony give up cigarettes, and there’s nothing like the zeal of a reformed smoker” Daily Telegraph, [internet] 6 June. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/3606909/Cherie-made-Tony-give-up-cigarettes-and-theres-nothing-like-the-zeal-of-a-reformed-smoker.html [Accessed: 12 November 2009]
Clearingtheair. 2008. Latest situation [Online] (Updated: 31 December). Available at: http://www.clearingtheairscotland.com/latest/index.html [Accessed: 12 November 2009]
Clearingtheair. 2009. Welcome to make a smoke free Scotland [Online] (Updated: 2009). Available at: http://www.clearingtheairscotland.com/ [Accessed: 12 November 2009]
Facebook. 2009. Quitclock [Online] (Updated: 13 November). Available at: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/apps/application.php?id=39245025835&ref=search&sid=1259038877.329601954..1 [Accessed: 13 November 2009]
Ford, C., 2009. “Mystery of Sports Cafe shutdown” Sunday Sun, [internet] 18 January. Available at: http://www.sundaysun.co.uk/news/north-east-news/2009/01/18/mystery-of-sports-cafe-shutdown-79310-22717368/ [Accessed: 13 November 2009]
Holtkamp, M., [email protected], 2009. FW: Smoking Ban [E-mail] Message to John Price ([email protected]). Sent Tuesday 17 November 2009, 17:12. Available at: http://mail.live.com/default.aspx?wa=wsignin1.0 [Accessed: 18 November 2009]
Laurance, J., 2008. “Smoking ban has saved 40,000 lives” The Independent, [internet] 30 June. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/smoking-ban-has-saved-40000-lives-856885.html [Accessed: 13 November 2009]
Lusher, A. & Goslett, M., 2007. “Hundreds of pubs to flout smoking ban” The Sunday Telegraph, [internet] 3 June. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1553459/Hundreds-of-pubs-to-flout-smoking-ban.html [Accessed: 13 November 2009]
McAuley, C., 2009. Smoke-free Legislation Northern Ireland [Word Document] (Personal communication, 16 November 2009)
McAuley, C., [email protected], 2009. RE: Smoking Ban [E-mail] Message to John Price ([email protected]). Sent Monday 16 November 2009, 11:50. Available at: http://mail.live.com/default.aspx?wa=wsignin1.0 [Accessed: 16 November 2009]
Medicalnews. 2009. Time to Quit Smoking, Says BUPA, UK [Online] (Updated: 6 January). Available at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/134510.php [Accessed: 13 November 2009]
NHS. 2008. Statistics on Smoking, England 2008 [Online] (Updated: 16 October). Available at: http://www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/smoking08 [Accessed: 13 November 2009]
Smokefreeengland. 2009. A healthier England from July 1st 2007 [Online] (Updated: 2009). Available at: http://www.smokefreeengland.co.uk/ [Accessed: 13 November 2009]
Smokingbanwales. 2009. Compliance data [Online] (Updated: 31 August 2009). Available at: http://new.wales.gov.uk/smokingbanwalessub/home/smokefreelawoutcomes/enforcement/previousdata/?lang=en [Accessed: 13 November 2009]
Sparrow, A., 2004. “Blair hints at ban on smoking in public” Daily Telegraph, [internet] 5 June. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1463690/Blair-hints-at-ban-on-smoking-in-public.html [Accessed: 12 November 2009]
SportsCafe. 2009. Find your nearest venue [Online] (Updated: 13 November). Available at: http://www.thesportscafe.com/brand.aspx [Accessed: 13 November 2009]
Tickle, D., [email protected], 2009. RE: Smoking Ban [E-mail] Message to John Price ([email protected]). Sent Wednesday 18 November 2009, 11:26. Available at: http://mail.live.com/default.aspx?wa=wsignin1.0 [Accessed: 18 November 2009]
How did I get in contact with Chris McAuley?
I had conducted an interview with Tobacco Control Officer in Northern Ireland, Chris McAuley. I interviewed him because I lacked the knowledge of Northern Ireland’s smoking ban and there wasn’t enough data in comparison with Scotland and Wales’s data online or on private publications. I got hold of him by the Northern Ireland smoking ban website: www.spacetobreathe.org.uk. He replied within two days of me e-mailing him via “Useful Contacts” under Belfast City Council.
How did I get in contact with Marloes Holtkamp?
Marloes Holtkamp works for the Wales Assembly Government. In my article, I wanted to discuss Wales in a little bit more detail than the other nations in the UK. I got hold of her on the Welsh Assembly Government website which discusses with issues to do with the smoking ban. I got hold of her by e-mail and she responded instantly and gave me useful information.
http://wales.gov.uk/smokingbanwalessub/home/?skip=1&lang=en – website where I found her, “Contact us”.
How did I get in contact with Dan Tickle?
No Smoking Day is an organisation which helps people to give up cigarettes and improve their lifestyle. Dan Tickle is the Chief Executive of this company and when I went onto the website http://www.nosmokingday.org.uk/contactus.htm, I wanted to hear more about the organisation and how much support they were given by the Government. Again, this interview was done by e-mail and his response came quick.
My view on the smoking ban: Comment
There are shocking amounts of people smoke. In 2007, 21% of the UK population aged 16 and over smoked, this was a record low (ONS: 2009). Considering the current population of Britain, this may not look a lot.
But in my view, I see that a lot of people light up a cigarette. The most upsetting thing is that some of the people were underage. When I went to high school, the alarm bells were ringing in my head, realising this. Statistics showed by the time children are 15 years old, one in five are regular smokers (SALSUS: 2004). This report was released five years ago.
References and Bibliography
ONS. 2009. Smoking: Smoking habits in Great Britain [Online] (Updated: 11 March). Available at: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=313 [Accessed: 16 November 2009]
SALSUS. 2004. Smoking, drinking and drug use among 13 to 15 year olds in Scotland in 2004 [Online] Available at: http://www.drugmisuse.isdscotland.org/publications/local/SALSUS_2004full.pdf [Accessed: 16 November 2009]