The London Health Commission has launched a smoking consultation campaign that could see the capital join New York and Dublin as a smoke-free city.
The initiative, which is called the Big Smoke Debate, will ask the public to vote on whether smoking in public places should be banned. Londoners can vote and give opinions about where and when smoking should be permitted via questionnaires in the mayor’s news-letter, The Londoner, and online.
Mayor Ken Livingstone will announce the results at a press conference in January, before deciding whether to ask the Government for a by-law to ban public smoking in the capital.
The London Health Commission has appointed Spirit Advertising to create a campaign to support the initiative. Print and outdoor advertising will run from next week until December 15, carrying the tagline “Smoking affects us all”.
Spirit business manager Ian Maybank says the consultation could be a precursor to a total ban on public smoking in London. Maybank adds that this will be the biggest health consultation undertaken in London and the first time the British public has been asked for their opinion on smoking in public places.
The initiative comes at a time when the tobacco industry is keen to play down fears of passive smoking. This week, the Tobacco Manufacturers Association published a survey on public attitudes to second-hand smoke that suggests only a minority favour bans in public places.