England became smokefree on 1 July 2007. The entire UK is now smokefree, making it the world’s most populated smokefree jurisdiction. Smoking is prohibited in enclosed or substantially enclosed public places and workplaces. Designated smoking rooms are not allowed. There are a few exemptions such as residential accommodation, designated rooms in care rooms, psychiatric hospitals (until 1 July 2008 only), designated hotel rooms, performers on stage. An attempt to exempt some pubs and private clubs failed before the legislation was passed, allowing England to become 100% smokefree.
The Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006
Preparation for smokefree legislation
Unlike in Scotland, the government did not support smokefree legislation, preferring a voluntary approach to regulation. In spite of this, a new strategy by health advocates focusing on comprehensive workplace legislation succeeded because of effective advocacy. It showed clear public and media support for smokefree legislation. It also showed how the interests of the tobacco industry and the hospitality industry differ. This difference was used to secure the backing of the hospitality industry to support comprehensive national legislation in order to achieve a level playing field and protect itself from litigation.
The successful implementation of the Irish legislation in March 2004 and Scottish legislation in 2006 had a positive impact, but they were not sufficient on their own to change the position of the UK Government. A coordinated approach was taken. ASH and Cancer Research UK set up a “core group” of key NGOs and others, including Asthma UK, the BMA, the British Heart Foundation, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and the Royal College of Physicians.
England is an example where advocacy has succeeded, achieving legislation when faced with strong resistance by Government.
Comprehensive smokefree legislation in England: how advocacy won the day. www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_675.pdf
Enforcement and compliance
Compliance with the legislation has been high. Compliance after three months was 98%. In the second half of 2008 it was almost 99%. www.smokefreeengland.co.uk/files/tob01_01_smokefree_report_period_10_v2.pdf
Five sets of smokefree regulations including a sample smokefree policy and suggested steps to take if someone smokes in a smokefree place. www.smokefreeengland.co.uk/thefacts/the-regulations.html
Greater Manchester (England) Enforcement protocol for Smokefree Provisions of Health Act 2006 (see Annex 1)
Examples of compliant signage for smokefree premises and vehicles www.smokefreeengland.co.uk/resources/
There was a smooth transition to smokefree places and public and business support was high.
Smokefree resources available in 2009
Action on Smoking and Health www.ash.org.uk
Smokefree England www.smokefreeengland.co.uk
Cancer Research UK www.cancerresearchuk.org/
British Medical Association www.bma.org.uk
British Heart Foundation www.bhf.org.uk
Asthma UK www.asthma.org.uk
Royal College of Physicians www.rcplondon.ac.uk
Chartered Institute of Environmental Health www.cieh.org
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