Headlines: June 29th, 2007



Figures released today show that less than half of people in England support the ban on smoking in pubs. The data, taken from the British Social Attitudes survey shows that only 48 per cent people back the ban while 49 per cent think smoking should be allowed freely in pubs or in certain areas. The figures come just two days before the introduction of the ban in all public places in England.

The survey, conducted by the National Centre for Social Research, also shows support for the ban is greater among middle class people. Almost two thirds of managers and professionals think there should be no smoking in pubs compared with only a third of respondents in routine and semi-routine jobs.

Researchers found, however, that some aspects of the ban are more popular. For example almost three-quarters of those surveyed wanted to see smoking banned in restaurants and 60 per cent favoured smoke-free workplaces. Public opinion is moving too. In 1990, only a quarter of people backed a complete ban on smoking in pubs, 57 per cent wanted it ended in restaurants and just a third at work.

Today’s findings also show the ban in England has more support than was the case in Scotland before it ended smoking in pubs in March last year. According to the Scottish Social Attitudes survey, in 2005 only 37 per cent of Scots were in favour of banning smoking in pubs. Since the law came into force, however, that figure has risen to more than 50 per cent.

Researcher Mark Johnson said, “That only around half of the public support the ban on smoking in pubs will not be good news for the government ahead of Sunday’s introduction. Even worse is that it is less popular among their traditional working class constituency.”