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Smoking ban "saves 40,000 lives"

The UK's smoke-free law, introduced a year ago, has helped more smokers to quit than ever before and will help prevent an estimated 40,000 deaths over the next 10 years, it has been claimed.

A study of more than 32,000 people over the nine months before and nine months after the law took effect on July 1, 2007, has shown that at least 400,000 people stopped smoking as a result of the ban.

The decline in smoking prevalence for the nine months up to last July was 1.6%, compared with an impressive 5.5% in the nine months after July 1. There was no difference by age, gender or social grade.

The Smoking Toolkit Study was funded by Cancer Research UK, McNeil, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline and will be presented at the UK National Smoking Cessation Conference in Birmingham.

It is the first study in the world to examine in detail the impact on smoking rates solely from smokefree legislation without the influence of any other tobacco control measures.

Commenting on the findings, Jean King, Cancer Research UK's director of tobacco control, said: "We must do everything possible to continue this great public health success - we now need a national tobacco control plan for the next five years.

Copyright © PA Business 2008

Cancer Research UK

Do you believe the smoking ban has been a success with regards to the numbers kicking the habit? Your comments:
(Terms and conditions apply)

"What are these 'health benefits', reduction in heart attacks perhaps, from a reduction in exposure to second-hand smoke? These scare stories are just lies and innuendo, after all ASH says so. Here is a quote from Amanda Sandford of ASH who I believe is a doctor. 'ASH, unlike some organisations, has never asserted that a single 30-minute exposure to second-hand smoke is enough to trigger a heart attack, and we are not aware of any UK health advocates who have done so.' It looks you can fool most of the people most of the time:" - Dave Atherton, London

"No. Ireland shows there is a small initial decrease in smoking just after a ban then a 2% increase in its popularity. I can't describe anything as "a success" when it's destroyed over 2,000 pubs and clubs in the UK, taken away civil liberties and provided no health benefits! The government trying to wrap this up as a 'success' just shows why they've no public support and no mandate to stay in government." - Johnny B, Channel Isles

"Talking of Pfizer, those guardians of our health..." - David B, Lincoln

"If you believe the 400,000 claim then you must also believe that there are fairies at the bottom of the garden. This figure is based on those stopping smoking for as little as two weeks. Typical antismoking distortion of the facts. Look at who partly funded it - Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline - pharmacheuticals with a huge vested interest - billions of pounds of profit from nicotine replacement therapy..." - David B, Lincoln

"No, just more smokers deny smoking because they are being discriminated against. If you are going to be refused medical treatment, be denied a job or evicted from your home because you are a minority group then you will deny your participation, this is natural human survival response. Remember Peter denying Jesus? I also think the continued persecution of smokers causes another human response and smokers actually smoke more in a subconscious "up-yours" to antismoking propaganda." - Callie, W. Midlands