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Smoking: Public Places

Volume 459: debated on Tuesday 1 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps have been taken to inform owners of restaurants, hotels and pubs of the smoking ban coming into place on 1 July. (134391)

Through the Smokefree England campaign, the Department is delivering a major communications campaign to support businesses to be prepared for the implementation of smokefree legislation on 1 July 2007. Recent surveys by the Department show extremely high levels of awareness among the hospitality industry and customers.

Information on the new law is available from the freephone Smokefree England information line on 0800 169 169 7 and on the Smokefree England website at:

www.smokefreeengland.co.uk

The website has received nearly 250,000 visits to date.

The Department has developed a range of guides on the new law. A guidance pack, including a guide, no-smoking signs and other support materials is being sent to all businesses in England that employ staff during April. Guidance documents can be downloaded from the Smokefree England website, and will be available in a range of different languages and formats, including a downloadable MP3 audio version.

A Ministerial Reference Group comprised of key stakeholders was created last year to facilitate dialogue between business groups including representatives from the hospitality industry, local government and the Department, and has met regularly. The Department also continues to work closely with organisations that represent the hospitality industry to increase awareness of the new legislation among their constituents.

Local councils are also working to build compliance in their communities. Local businesses are advised to contact their local council for advice and support in implementing smokefree legislation.