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Meg Munn wins praise from anti-smoking groups

Friday, September 26, 2003


Campaigning local MP Meg Munn has won praise this week from the country's top anti-smoking pressure group. Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has congratulated Ms Munn over her call for urgent new laws to end smoking in workplaces and public places. Ms Munn was one of more than a hundred MPs to sign Early Day Motion no 359 last year, which calls for "the Government to introduce legislation on passive smoking as a matter of urgency".

The British Medical Association estimates that more than one thousand people die prematurely in the UK every year from the effects of passive smoking - that's at least three people every day [1]. An estimated 3 million people became passive smokers at work, with those working in bars and restaurants particularly at risk. Unions such as the GMB have begun to win big payouts to workers made ill by second hand smoking, and many more legal cases are believed to be in the pipeline.

In July, the Government's Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson placed action on second hand smoking as his top priority for improving public health. He said that "major action to clear the air of cigarette smoke in workplaces and public places would be the final brick in the wall". Smoke-free laws have already been successfully introduced in New York and California [2].

Commenting, ASH Director Deborah Arnott said:

"I'm delighted that Meg Munn MP is backing the call for new laws to end smoke-filled workplaces and public places. Passive smoking is killing more than a thousand people every year in Britain, and urgent action to stop this tragic waste of life is long overdue.

No-one chooses to have other people's smoke blown in their face. No-one chooses to become ill from smoke, just because they work in a restaurant or a bar. The tobacco lobby has fought effective action against second hand smoking for years. But MPs like Ms Munn MP will make sure that they do not get their way for much longer."     

Meg Munn MP commented:

"I'm backing the call for action on smoking in the workplace. On average, at least three people die in the UK every day from the effects of passive smoking. Employees need to be protected from this major public health threat. Action on passive smoking will also help cut the number of active smokers in the country, and hence cut the tragic toll of death and disease that smoking brings in its wake."



[1] Breathing other people's smoke is called passive, involuntary or second hand smoking. The non-smoker breathes "sidestream" smoke from the burning tip of the cigarette and "mainstream" smoke that has been inhaled and then exhaled by the smoker.  Environmental tobacco smoke

(ETS) is a major source of indoor air pollution.

Tobacco smoke contains over 4000 chemicals in the form of particles and gases. Some 60 are known or suspected carcinogens (cancer causing substances). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the USA has classified environmental tobacco smoke as a class A (known human) carcinogen. Immediate effects of passive smoking include eye irritation, headache, cough, sore throat, dizziness and nausea. In the longer term, passive smokers suffer an increased risk of a range of smoking-related diseases, including an increased risk of heart disease and lung cancer.

[2] New data from New York and California show that smoke-free bars and restaurants are very popular with customers and staff, in contrast to the gloomy forecasts of lost trade from the tobacco and hospitality industries.





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