My honourable friend the Minister of State for Public Health (Caroline Flint) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
Today the Department of Health publishes a consultation on proposed regulations for smoke-free premises and vehicles to be made under Part 1 of the Health Bill. The medical and scientific evidence of the risks to health from exposure to second-hand smoke is well established and is set out in the 1998 and 2004 reports of the independent Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health, and the 2004 report of the World Health Organisation's International Agency for Research on Cancer.
A key aspect of the Government's strategy as set out in the White Paper Choosing Health: making healthy choices easier is to shift the balance significantly in favour of smoke-free enclosed public places and workplaces through legislation in order to reduce levels of exposure to second-hand smoke. The smoke-free provisions in the regulations to be made under the Health Bill are a huge step forward for public health by reducing exposure in enclosed public places and workplaces to the hazards of second-hand smoke. The consultation seeks comments on the content of the regulations and their implementation. The consultation period will run for 12 weeks, closing on 2 October 2006. Copies of the consultation document have been placed in the Library.