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Smokers urged to kick habit

14th March 2007

Smokers are being encouraged to give up ahead of the national smoking ban in July, under which smoking will be prohibited in all enclosed public spaces.

Experts at the British Medical Association (BMA) are recommending that smokers use No Smoking Day today as an excuse to quit ahead of July 1st, highlighting self-evident health benefits as well as the fact that it will be more difficult to smoke after the ban is implemented.

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, the BMA’s head of science and ethics, has called on smokers to kick the habit.

“Given they will not be able to smoke in virtually all public indoor premises, it makes sense to take this a step further and stop altogether,” she said.

“Around half of all smokers will die because of their habit. For this reason, as doctors, we are urging smokers to seek help to quit.”

Experts recommend that employers also use No Smoking Day to address smoking issues in the workplace, in order to avoid any confusion or conflict once the ban is introduced.

To help prevent problems arising from misunderstanding, law firm DWF advises bosses to “strike a balance”, seeking to maintain the legal rights of smokers without fuelling resentment among non-smokers.

Stephen Robinson of DWF recommends that employers “make it clear that any agreed breaks are a privilege, not a right” and that formal steps should be taken in this regard.

“Consultation is key, if there is a recognised channel such as a trade union, use it,” he said.

“Try to reach an amicable agreement which has the support of all parties.”

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