Former smoker David Cameron hails smoking ban

Ex-smoker David Cameron said the ban on lighting up in workplaces had been a success

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David Cameron has admitted to a change of heart about the smoking ban, saying he now considered it a success.

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, he said: "As a former smoker and someone who believes strongly in liberties and someone who did not support it at the time, it has worked."

He was responding to a Labour backbencher's question about a smoking ban in cars when children were present.

On that issue, the prime minister said, he would have a "serious think".

Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham, who asked the question, claimed the vast majority of people backed such a ban, and asked the government to support his Bill criminalising it.

"I'm much more nervous about going into what people do inside a vehicle," Mr Cameron told the Commons.

"I will look carefully at what you say, but we have to have a serious think before we take that step."

Cigarette stash

Mr Cunningham has previously argued such a ban would have "tremendous" health benefits for children vulnerable to the effects of passive smoking.

The British Lung Foundation said the prime minister's commitment to consider the call was "a significant step for every child in England".

"It reflects the growing consensus that serious action needs to be taken on this major health issue facing children today," a spokesman for the charity said.

In 2006, MPs voted by a huge margin to ban smoking from all pubs and private members' clubs in England.

Mr Cameron, then leader of the opposition, missed the vote following the birth of his third child.

The ban in workplaces and other public places first came into effect in Scotland in 2006, before being extended to Wales, Northern Ireland and England a year later.

Last year, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg confessed to being a secret smoker.

On BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, the Lib Dem leader said his luxury item, if stranded alone on an island, would be a "stash of cigarettes".

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