HC Deb 17 September 2004 vol 424 cc1996-7W
Mr. Rosindell

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effects on the NHS of a ban on smoking in public places. [189257]

Miss Melanie Johnson

Second-hand smoke in the home and in public places is causally linked to lung cancer, ischaemic heart disease, cot death, childhood respiratory diseases, middle ear disease and asthma attacks in children. A reduction in exposure to second-hand smoke will lead to a reduced burden on the national health service from the diseases linked to second-hand smoke; as well as a reduced direct health burden from lower smoking rates, which would follow. The exact level of this benefit has not been estimated.

We have just conducted a public health consultation, which covers a wide range of issues including smoking in public places. We are currently considering all the many responses we have received. These will inform the public health White Paper which will be published in the autumn.