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58% of Tory members support relaxation of smoking ban

747px-No_smoking_symbol.svg 58% of the 1,493 Tory members who voted in ConservativeHome's end-July survey of opinion agreed with the contention that "the Conservatives should relax the smoking ban so that pubs, restaurants and private clubs can apply to allow smoking on their premises."  39% disagreed.

The figures for Conservative voters are similar; 55% to 40%.

Fifty pubs are closing every week in Britain at the moment and the smoking ban is thought to be a major contributory factor.

Shane Frith of Progressive Vision recently made the case on ConservativeHome's Platform for amending the smoking ban:

"This Labour government has infantilised the people of Britain with an enormous growth of the nanny state.  The smoking ban, affecting private property, is one of the more egregious examples of this attitude.  I, as a non-smoker, have never been forced to walk into a smoke-filled bar, yet Labour’s nanny state believes I am a victim and need to be protected.  If given a choice, I will prefer to stay in non-smoking sections of pubs or visit non-smoking pubs, but as an adult I deserve that choice."

I'm one of the 39% who voted for the status quo and am also in the minority who have gone to pubs more often since the ban.  I can see the case for a narrow relaxation of the ban - insofar as private clubs want to allow smoking.  My understanding, however, is that Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley - a great believer in public health - does not want to return to the issue.

Tim Montgomerie


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