'How do you sleep at night Mr Blair?' (2004-06)

"No one is seriously talking about a complete ban on smoking in pubs and restaurants," said Clive Bates, the director of ASH (UK) in 1998, "This is a scare-mongering story by a tobacco industry front group."(1)

Bates was responding to the Fair Cigarette Tax Campaign (which was indeed funded by the tobacco industry) and a survey that showed 35% of smokers would stop drinking in their local pub if smoking was banned. Bates was right to accuse the industry of scare-mongering. No one in Britain, including those working for ASH, saw a ban on smoking in pubs as a realistic proposition in the 1990s.

Even when neighbouring Ireland went smoke-free in 2003, the idea of such a law being passed in England seemed unthinkable. As late as June 2005, public health minister Caroline Flint was rebutting claims that the government was contemplating a total ban on smoking in pubs, calling them "false speculation, anonymous briefings... I don't know where the stories came from."(2) And yet, eight months after the minister said these words, a law was passed which banned smoking in every pub, bar, restaurant, office, bus-stop and train station in England...

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