Smoking ban could help 700,000 smokers quit

In collaboration with the Press Association

Campaigners for a total ban on smoking in public in the UK believe that nearly 700,000 people would give up smoking within a year if lighting up in public was prohibited.

Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) and Asthma UK estimate that 689,000 smokers would kick the habit, not to mention the benefits to non-smokers who suffer from other people's smoke in public places.

With the potential to stop so many people smoking, the two groups think MPs must support a total smoking ban in public, rather than merely a partial ban.

Deborah Arnott, director of Ash, said: "We are now within sight of the most important advance for public health in many decades.

"A comprehensive smoke-free law would protect workers and members of the public from the health damage caused by other people's smoke. It would also encourage many smokers to quit for good."

At present, it is estimated that a quarter of all adults in England smoke.

Jean King, Cancer Research UK's director of tobacco control, said: "The message couldn't be any clearer. A comprehensive smokefree law would benefit everyone.

"Not only would it protect workers and members of the public from secondhand smoke but it would help many smokers to quit for good. This is important because most smokers want to quit but struggle to give up.

"We call on all MPs to vote for a comprehensive smokefree law. It's about health and it's about time."