Global anti-smoking drive 'making history'

Global action to tackle the negative health effects of smoking has reached a "tipping point", researchers have claimed.

Analysing the state of opposition to smoking indoors around the world, European and US medical experts say the 2004 indoor smoking ban introduced by Ireland has led the way to a spate of other bans since then.

Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers cite bans in countries around the world including Lithuania, Uruguay, Iran, Malta, Sweden, Iceland, Uganda, South Africa, France, Hong Kong and Finland – among others.

"The 21st century is witnessing a paradigm shift, once considered impossible, whereby entire countries are declaring themselves smoke-free in indoor public places. Such mounting progress across the globe is making smoking history worldwide," Howard Koh of the Harvard School of Public Health commented.

"In short, the world has begun to reclaim clean air as the social norm. For too long, the tobacco industry has spent billions to normalise, market, and glamorise a behaviour that is now recognised as a tragic drug addiction," he added.

Wales' smoking ban was introduced on April 2nd while Scotland's ban was implemented in March 2006. England's equivalent ban is due to be introduced on July 1st.

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