If you want to have a cigarette in England after July 1, make sure it is not in an enclosed public place – otherwise you will be breaking the law. As of July 1, it will be illegal to smoke in enclosed public places – offices, pubs, bars, factories and public buildings. You can still smoke outdoors and in your home.

This new law is aimed at protecting the health of the non-smoker, who allegedly risks his/her health by breathing secondhand smoke (passive smoking). Some government ministers have said they hope this new legislation will encourage many smokers to quit.

In England, just over 100,000 people die prematurely as a result of smoking. Cancer charities say countries which have imposed similar legislation have witnessed a significant drop in the number of smokers.

Not everyone is happy about this new law. Some argue that people’s civil liberties are being undermined. Others quote health figures, for example, childhood asthma – there are many more children with asthma today than there were 30 years ago, however, 30 years ago there were nearly twice as many smokers in England.

Although the smoking ban is generally popular throughout the country, some pubgoers are horrified at the prospect of not being able to light up at their ‘local’. Many say that it is more a case of victimization than common sense; why not insist on first-class ventilation systems in pubs, or allow publicans to decide for themselves whether smoking should be allowed. There are scores of non-smoking pubs throughout the country anyway, people say.

As the date looms, thousands of pubs throughout England are scrambling to have their garden smoking shack ready by Sunday (where smokers may retire to for a quick puff).

Whether or not this spells the beginning of the end of the English pub remains to be seen.

Written by: Christian Nordqvist
Editor: Medical News Today