The people of the UK are overwhelmingly opposed to a ban on smoking at home, according to a new poll published yesterday.
The online poll of 2,101 adults was commissioned after anti-smoking campaigners called for a debate about smoking in the home. “As a nation, I think we need to have a debate on why we currently think it acceptable to expose non-smokers, including children, to second-hand tobacco smoke within indoor spaces,” Dr. Sean Semple, an academic at Aberdeen University, told the Sunday Times Scotland earlier this month. “I think that debate needs to include smoking in the home.”
The Times reported also that the chief executive of the anti-smoking group ASH Scotland was seeking a meeting with the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations to discuss the possibility of a smoking ban.
In May, it was reported that council housing tenants in England could be banned from smoking in their own homes under new rules being considered by some councils. “Housing associations and councils are looking at smoke-free housing buildings,” Professor John Middleton, president of the Faculty of Public Health, told the Times. “Where children are involved I think there is a real case for it.”
But Simon Clark (pictured), director of Forest, said the poll was a reminder that most people didn’t support an extreme anti-smoking agenda.
“The public understands that punishing adults for smoking in their own home would represent a gross invasion of privacy,” he said.
“They know too that a ban could only be enforced if neighbours and family members were encouraged to report one another. For most people that’s a deeply disturbing prospect.”
Clark dismissed claims that anti-smoking groups did not support a ban on smoking at home.
“I’ve no doubt at all that one of the long-term goals of the tobacco control industry is a ban on smoking in the home, starting with social housing,” he said.
“Prohibition is part of their DNA. The only way they can hope to achieve their ambition of a smoke free world is to persecute smokers into submission.”