British Medical Association Cymru Wales is disappointed and dismayed by Secretary of State for Wales Peter Hain's recent comments on smoking in public places.

In the week that a study published on-line by the BMJ says that passive smoking kills at least 30 people every day at work and at home in the United Kingdom, it's incredulous that Mr Hain is appeasing the tobacco industry by watering down proposals to ban smoking in public places.

"His U-turn on one of Labour's flagship policies by signalling that smokers' rooms will be permitted even in pubs that serve food, describing such a piecemeal arrangement as 'common sense' flies in the face of scientific and medical facts," said Dr Richard Lewis - Welsh Secretary of the BMA.

"We have been explaining to Assembly Members and Members of Parliament in briefing papers and face to face meetings - that passive smoking kills. We have even briefed the Secretary of State himself.

"We have delivered a petition to Downing Street signed by over 5,000 Welsh men and women who want smoking banned; we have delivered hundreds of letters from doctors working in Wales outlining their own personal experiences of the effects of passive smoking to the Assembly and to Downing Street. What more can we do to convince politicians that the inhalation of other people's tobacco smoke kills?

"It's frustrating to think that politicians seem to be playing with people's lives. We know the problem. They are aware of the issues. Why don't we simply solve it by placing a complete ban on smoking in all public places? If smokers wish to smoke in the open air or in the privacy of their own home - so be it. But innocent men, women and children - including people who work in pubs, clubs, restaurants and casinos - should not be allowed to suffer."

"Despite this apparent setback, BMA Cymru Wales will not give up. We shall continue to lobby hard on behalf of Welsh men, women and children and for the sake of public health in Wales. The passive smoking disease must be eradicated, and eradicated quickly."

For more information please contact:

John Jenkins
Tel: 029 2047 4611
mobile 07788 565216
pager 04325 638059
Fax: 029 2047 4621
Email: jjenkinsbma

BMA Cymru Wales
Fifth floor
2 Caspian Point
Caspian Way
Cardiff Bay
CF10 4DQ

Telephone: (029) 2047 4646
Fax: (029) 2047 4600
email: infordiffbma

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