'No plans' for smoking ban review

image captionThe 2007 ban went further than any of the main parties had promised

The government has dropped a planned review of the smoking ban in England.

The previous Labour administration had promised it would be looked at again in autumn 2010, but the coalition says it has "no plans" to do so.

Publicans - who feared a review would extend the ban into beer gardens and doorways, damaging trade - backed a campaign to partially lift the ban.

The law was brought in exactly three years ago, following similar moves in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It outlaws smoking in enclosed public places, such as offices, bingo halls, pubs, restaurants and cafes.

Internet debate

Health campaigners argued this would save hundreds of lives a year by cutting passive smoking and help cut tobacco sales.

But some civil liberties groups said smokers would face discrimination as a result.

The issue remains controversial with the public - with calls for the ban to be reversed among the most popular suggestions on a new government website, Your Freedom, asking the public for ideas on which existing laws and regulations should be repealed.

But a Department of Health spokeswoman told the BBC: "We currently have no plans for a review."

This week it was revealed that Trimdon Labour Club, in former Prime Minister Tony Blair's Sedgefield constituency, is set to close, with the smoking ban being partly blamed for a loss of custom.

The 2006 parliamentary vote for the smoking ban went further than the election manifesto pledges of any of the main parties, despite protests from the licensing trade.

MPs eventually decided not to provide an exemption for pubs not serving food and private members' clubs, as had been promised by Labour at the 2005 general election.

Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg missed the vote, in Mr Cameron's case because of the birth of his son Arthur.

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