Press Article: 1st July - England is Officially Smokefree 29/06/06
1st July - England is Officially Smokefree 29/06/06
From now on all shops, offices, factories, pubs, cafes, restaurants, membership clubs, public transport and work vehicles used by more than one person will all be smokefree.
Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh Smoke Free North East commented: "Today is one of the most important days for the health of our region. The smokefree law is a major milestone for everyone working to reduce the appalling burden that tobacco has caused on our communities.
"I am delighted that Fresh and all its partners has been to able to play a key role in ensuring that the smokefree law in England is one of the most comprehensive in the world, and that we will be protecting so many workers from the lethal effects of secondhand smoke. Like Ireland, the rest of the UK and many other places around the world we know that this law will be very popular and successful."
Dr Stephen Singleton, Regional Director of Public Health for the North East said: "This is the most important public health measure to be introduced in England in living memory."
"It will save hundreds of lives and if smokers use this change as an incentive to quit, thousands of lives in our region, which is blighted by high levels of premature and preventable deaths"
As a region, the North East has the most to gain from this new law. With the highest levels of cancer, heart disease and chronic illness in England it is no coincidence that the North East has the highest rates of smoking at 28%, rising to 50% of the population in some areas. Smoking is the region?s biggest cause of preventable death.
Latest public opinion research, published on 21 June indicated strong support for the legislation in the North East, with 83% believing that going smokefree would have a positive effect on health.
Ailsa continued "Smokefree England is just the start of a long journey to reduce the harm caused by smoking. We must not lose sight that while this battle may have been won, there is still a great deal of action ahead. Whilst nearly 6,000 local people die every year in the North East all completely avoidably from smoking, we must maintain all our efforts to address the issue. "
"Fresh will be continuing its wide range of work with our many partners to really turn the North East into a truly smokefree region."
Dr Stephen Singleton continued: "Introducing restrictions on smoking in public places is just one step in a long journey. But it will give us a solid foundation on which to build a healthier society in the North East."
For more information about Smokefree England, visit: www.smokefreeengland.co.uk or call 0800 169 1697