Anti-smoke lobby eyes London and Manchester for public ban

London and Manchester will be the next cities targeted by the anti-smoking lobby if the campaign to get Liverpool to ban smoking in public places is successful.

Liverpool City Council decides next week whether to use health and safety rules to stamp out smoking in pubs, shopping centres and workplaces, after an offensive by campaigning group Smoke Free Liverpool. The city is believed to be keen to enact the ban in time for its tenure as European City of Culture in 2008.

Mike Unger, chief executive of the Roy Castle Foundation, the lung cancer charity behind Smoke Free Liverpool, said: "It is highly likely that similar moves could be taken in other cities, and we know that Manchester and London are interested."

The news comes in the same week that the London Health Commission revealed that of a survey of 34,446 Londoners, 64 per cent would prefer restaurants to be smoke-free and 43 per cent favour smoke-free pubs.

The foundation hopes that its National Clean Air Awards, to be launched in March, will promote the smoke-free message. There will be a gold award for businesses that have smoke-free premises and provide support for employees wanting to quit, and a silver award for those that only allow smoking in designated areas.

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