MPs should consider health for all when they vote on a smoking ban

EMBARGO: 00:01H (London time) Friday January 20, 2006. In North America the embargo lifts at 18:30H ET Thursday January 19, 2006.

Members of Parliament across all parties should consider health for all when they vote on a complete smoking ban, states an editorial in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Last week, the UK Prime Minister Tony Blair finally heeded pressure to allow a free vote on an amendment to the Health Bill removing the exemption of pubs that do not serve food from a smoking ban. Without a complete ban people working in these premises, who often do not have the luxury of choosing their workplace, are exposed to second-hand smoke and some will die from this exposure. People in poorer areas will have a higher proportion of pubs and bars that do not serve food and health inequalities will be further perpetuated, states the editorial.

The Lancet comments: "We call on all members of Parliament across all parties to carefully weigh up the consequences of their vote for the health of the public. Health for all must be the first consideration."

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Contact: The Lancet press office 2-074-244-949/4249, pressoffice@lancet.com


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