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Reflections on the 10th Anniversary of the introduction of the Smoke Free Law in England (Part 2) The Turning Point

The Smoke Free Law in England came into force on 1st July 2007. Hilary Wareing; Ian Gray and Paul Hooper of iPiP’s Tobacco Control Collaborating Centre had various connections with the development and implementation of the law we have now.

These are our reflections (Part 2).

The Turning Point

We seemed to be ASH TUCmoving towards a two-tier society. those protected from smoke at work and those who were not.

So it was until the day everything changed. The TUC /CIEH/ASH Conference ‘Don’t Choke on the Smoke’ held in London 2003 was originally still asking the Government to implement the Code of Practice called for in Smoking Kills. However, there were a number of key issues that came together. Firstly, we heard compelling evidence of the harm from secondhand smoke and then the announcement that Ireland were going to go completely smoke free in indoor workplaces and then finally the comment that changed everything.


One of the people invited to the conference was a casino worker. He supported the campaign to improve working conditions but when he said that even if the Code of Practice was adopted his health would still not be protected then collectively we realised that only a comprehensive law would do. There was a show of hands – and we all committed ourselves to campaigning for an end to voluntary agreements and to demand a change in the law.


As the tag-line to a US advert shown on the day said, ‘It’s about health and it’s about time!’ and it was.


Activities to Support the introduction of a law that would work

 A Joint CIEH & ASH Toolkit was produced and rolled out across the regions. It said that local authorities should be the central players in local strategies for tobacco control; adopting no smoking policies throughout their premises and workforce; utilising contractual arrangements to impose smokefree requirements; and engaging local NHS and other key partners to influence other organisations, employers and businesses





Understanding the work undertaken in Ireland was crucial to our success and the TCCC organised visits to Dublin by health professionals, campaigners and those who would ultimately write the English Law. There we heard from those who had lived the Irish experience and our belief was confirmed that it was possible to do the same in England.




ireland 2





ireland 3








Paul undertakes essential research


Read more in part 3

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