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Smoking in public should be restricted

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7135.881 (Published 21 March 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:881
  1. Caroline White
  1. London

    Smoking in public places should be restricted on the grounds of public health, concludes the report of the Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health—a group of independent scientific experts.

    The government committee states categorically that passive smoking does cause lung cancer and ischaemic heart disease. Long term exposure to environmental tobacco smoke increases the risk of dying from the disease by 20-30% in non-smokers, accounting for several hundred extra deaths from lung cancer in the UK every year, says the report. Passive smoking, it says, also damages children's health and is an important cause of childhood respiratory infections and chronic lung disease. The report is the first government report on the effects of active and passive smoking on health to be published for 10 years. Its recommendations will form the basis of the government's white paper on tobacco and health to be published later this year.

    Data from the Health Education Authority show that smoking killed 120000 people in the UK in 1995. Preliminary figures from the …

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