Proponents of last year’s controversial ban on smoking in public places are triumphant after news that 400,000 Britons have quit smoking since the ban took effect in England last July 1.
“The effect has been as large in all social groups — poor as well as rich,” said Robert West, director of tobacco studies at the University College London, which researched the long-term effects of the ban.
Cigarette sales fell by six per cent in the past year, according to the market research company Neilson, a drop which West and his colleagues stressed will prevent 40,000 deaths over the next 10 years.
The ban isn’t just helping those who quit. A British Lung Foundation survey of 1,000 people found more than half said they had suffered fewer attacks of breathlessness from exposure to smokers in pubs and restaurants, and more than a third said it had helped keep them out of hospital.