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Smoking ban boosts public health

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The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has described the announcement of a 17 per cent drop in heart attack admissions since the Scottish smoking ban was introduced as “the best news on public health all year.”

Richard Jones, director of technical affairs at IOSH, said: “The study gives very encouraging statistics and is a real vindication after years of campaigning to have smoking banned in public places, including the workplace. It is very welcome news for all employees previously exposed to second-hand smoke, especially bar workers.”

He added: “We believed this ban would have a major impact on improving health, reducing the associated risks of heart disease and lung cancer, and from passive smoke, so are delighted with these great early findings. Providing smoke-free workplaces is helping employers too, in terms of reducing any sickness absence caused by passive smoking, while also giving smokers another positive reason and supportive environment to give up.”

The findings were presented to an international conference in Edinburgh on the ban, organised by the Scottish Government.

The study shows the quality of air in pubs is now equivalent to that found outdoors. Exposure to second-hand smoke in Scotland is down by 40 per cent among adults and children.

Before the ban went nationwide, around three million people across the UK were regularly exposed to second hand smoke at work.

According to the BMA, UK bar workers’ exposure to second hand smoke was six times that of office workers. Non-smokers working in the smokiest bars were more likely (around 20 times) to get lung cancer than the average non smoker.

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Annie Hayes

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