RCGP calls for Govt action to ban smoking in public

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has called on GPs to spearhead a wide-ranging lobbying campaign to get the Government to ban smoking in public places, called Stub It Out.

The RCGP is urging GPs to write to PM Tony Blair to put the ban in place.

The move comes as the Government considers giving councils the power to implement bans.

Key to the campaign is a letter being posted on the college’s website for GPs to sign and send off to Number 10. The college has also teamed up with anti-smoking group ASH to produce postcards calling for the ban also to be sent to the PM. This will be inserted in next month’s issue of the RCGP’s quarterly magazine New Generalist.

Leaflets and information packs are also being made available to GPs for their waiting rooms and another plan being mooted is to provide an online petition for GPs to print out for patients.

Nursing and Midwifery Council PRO Dan Stern, who joined the college last week as press office manager, said: ‘GPs are at the front line of patient care and every day they see the damage that passive smoking does to patients. This has been going on for long enough and it’s time to stub it out.’

RCGP honorary secretary Dr Maureen Baker said: ‘The RCGP wants to see a dramatic reduction in the number of people suffering from illnesses linked to passive smoking. People working in the leisure and hospitality industries as well as women and children are particularly at risk from second-hand smoke.’

According to the body, exposure to passive smoking while at work contributes to around 700 deaths a year from lung cancer, heart disease and stroke combined illnesses.

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