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Public Places in England Go Smoke Free

Smoking in public places and places of work is now banned in all of Britain with England's entrance into an ever-expanding club of nations that bar the habit.

From 6 am on July 1, all public areas, offices and other enclosed or partially enclosed places of work, and most company vehicles have become no-smoking areas in England.

Individuals will, however, still be able to light up outside buildings, in gardens and in the backyards of eateries.

Ireland became the first European country to impose a smoking ban in March 2004, and since then, Norway, Italy, Malta, Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, France, Finland and Iceland have followed suit with slightly varying restrictions.

In Britain, public places have been no-smoking areas in Scotland since 2006, and in Wales and Northern Ireland since April 2007.

The European Commission is in favour of a ban on smoking in public places, including restaurants. Cigarette-smoking is responsible for 650,000 deaths a year in the European Union, with a further estimated 80,000 deaths from passive smoking.

Britain's health ministry estimates the annual cost of smoking to the government-run National Health Service at between 1.4 and 1.7 billion pounds.

The legislation is aiming to reduce the exposure of non-smokers to the health risks of smoking, such as lung cancer, and cardiac and respiratory illness. The World Health Organisation classes passive smoking as a carcinogen.

Numerous Britons have been spurred by the prospect of the smoking ban to light their last cigarette, or at least to try quitting.

The market for products to help prospective quitters will this year cross the 100-million-pound level, a 40 percent increase since 2002, according to the market research firm Mintel, and will grow to 140 million pounds in 2011.

Along with the traditional smoking patches and chewing gum, other anti-smoking pro
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