UK Minister launches official countdown to smokefree England

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A smokefree England will be a reality in one hundred days time and the Government is stepping up its campaign to help businesses get ready for the 1 July start date.

This was the message from Public Health Minister Caroline Flint as she officially launched the one hundred day countdown to the most important health protection measure in a generation.

Caroline Flint said:

"On 1 July, all enclosed public places and workplaces will become smokefree, a measure supported by the majority of people in this country. The new law will protect everyone from the harm of secondhand smoke at work and in public places, and will save lives.

"We are now entering an important period, when all businesses should start preparing for compliance. They should be removing all smoking rooms and start putting up no smoking signs. We are confident that with the support being provided by the Department of Health and by local councils, everyone should be ready in time.

"A snapshot survey carried out by the Department shows that more than three quarters of businesses are aware of the legislation. This is an encouraging picture, but obviously we need to ensure every business understands what actions they will need to take ahead of 1 July and has the support they need.

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"To help businesses prepare, we will be sending out guidance and no smoking signs to every business with employees in England, some 1.7million, during April; while local councils will also be providing support and advice about smokefree law."

Carol Undy, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses said: "With just 100 days to go until smokefree legislation comes into effect in England, now is the time for businesses to make sure they know what they need to do to comply with the law. The Federation of Small Businesses welcomes the publication of this guidance which will help to focus the minds of businesses and provide them with the information and support they need to make an easy transition into smokefree working. We will continue to work with Smokefree England to ensure our members are clear in their responsibilities in the run up to 1st July."

The survey of businesses and the public, commissioned by the Department of Health, shows widespread support for smokefree legislation. Findings show that:

- 74% of the overall population support the legislation;

- 77% of all businesses are aware of the legislation;

- 65% of the population say that the legislation will not affect how often they; go to the pub and 15% of the overall population say they will go more often;

- 75% of the overall population believe that going smokefree will have a positive effect on health.

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