99% of smokers respecting ban but many unaware of lung cancer link

In collaboration with the Press Association

A new survey has revealed that the majority of people are not flouting the ban on smoking in public places in England, and many have attempted to give up since the law came into force on July 1st.

According to a poll of 1,532 people, 97 per cent of smokers fully respect the ban.

The survey also revealed that a total of 12 per cent of smokers have attempted to quit since the ban was introduced, rising to 17 per cent among smokers with asthma.

However, the research, which was commissioned by Action on Smoking & Health (Ash), Asthma UK and the British Thoracic Society, did highlight the fact that many members of the public are unaware of the link between passive smoking and illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer.

Just 26 per cent were aware that secondhand smoke can contribute to heart disease, and only 30 per cent know that it contributes to lung cancer.

Professor John Macfarlane, chairman of the British Thoracic Society, commented: "This research shows how effective the smoking ban is in helping to reduce the number of smokers and the number of people exposed to secondhand smoke.

"However it's clear more needs to be done to raise awareness of the effects of secondhand smoke on asthma, lung cancer, COPD and heart disease. Cigarette smoke remains the number one contributor to these conditions."

The survey also revealed that 73 per cent of adults believe the ban has been good for their health, with half of asthmatics saying that they are now able to visit pubs more frequently and 43 per cent claiming to be less worried about the risk of an asthma attack when out in public places.

Report author Martin Dockrell said: "As we expected, more people are going out to pubs and restaurants and many smokers are quitting. It's really encouraging to see almost all smokers respecting the law."