EU countries urged to adopt smokefree laws
Member states across the European Union have been urged to adopt smokefree laws similar to those already in place in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.
EU health commissioner Markos Kyprianou suggested that union-wide legislation may be required, as he made the call at the launch of a public debate in Brussels.
Around 79,000 people in the EU are estimated to die due to secondhand smoke every year, around one in nine of all tobacco-related deaths.
Both Ireland and Scotland have already launched successful smokefree laws, and similar legislation will follow in England on July 1st.
Wales will go smokefree on April 2nd and Northern Ireland will follow on April 30th.
An EU survey last year showed strong public support on a ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces, with 80 per cent saying that they would support legislation.
Over 600 people in the UK are estimated to die from workplace exposure to cigarette smoke every year.