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Smoking ban could spread to stadia

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A national smoking ban could extend to spectators in sports stadia, according to a consultation document published by the Department of Health on 20 June.

The proposed ban will apply to enclosed public spaces – which are defined as any place where at least 70 per cent of the walls and roof are covered – meaning some sports stadia would be affected.

Smoking is also expected to be banned in restaurants, in pubs which serve and prepare food and in the bar area of all licensed premises by 2008.

Draft exemptions apply to drinks-only pubs, which will be able to serve a limited choice of snacks, and private members clubs, including cricket and rugby clubs such as the Saville and the Garrick.

Opposition to the proposals has come from the health lobby, publicans, smokers and the Local Government Association (LGA).

The British Beer and Pub Association criticised the exemptions as being unworkable. Mark Hastings, communications director, said: ”We remain convinced that the link with food is the wrong way to tackle this issue.”

He said that 26 companies, representing 40 per cent of the pub sector, were already following a no smoking initiative. They have pledged to ban smoking at the bar and have a maximum of 20 per cent of trading floor space for smokers by December 2009.

The LGA added concerns about the definitions of “smoking” and “enclosed areas” and wants clearer guidelines for councils – the bodies which will be responsible for enforcing the ban. Cllr David Rogers, chair of the Community Well-Being Board, said: “Enforcement could effectively be impossible without appropriate clarification.”

The consultation will close on 5 September. Details: www.dh.gov.uk

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A national smoking ban could extend to spectators in sports stadia, according to a consultation document published by the Department of Health on 20 June.
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