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  1. ITV Report

Almost five years since smoking ban

Five years on, the ban on smoking in enclosed spaces still provokes debate Photo: ITV News Wales

Tomorrow it will be exactly five years since a ban on smoking in enclosed spaces was introduced in Wales.

Smoke-filled pubs, bars and restaurants are almost a distant memory as continuing efforts are made to protect workers and the general public from the effects of second-hand smoke.

There have been mixed feelings towards the legislation since it was introduced in 2007.

Welsh politicians say the ban prevents around 400 deaths though passive smoking each year, as well as reducing the risk of developing cancers and heart disease by at least a quarter.

But many smokers argue it’s an infringement on their freedom, while some in the hospitality industry claim it has affected trade.

Scotland was first to officially introduce the ban in March 2007, followed by Wales, Northern Ireland and England.

The latest Welsh Health Survey results show 23 per cent of people in Wales smoke compared to 24 per cent in 2007. The Welsh Government hopes to reduce this figure to 16 per cent by 2020.

Figures from Ash Cymru, Wales' leading voluntary organisation tackling tobacco use, reveal:

  • Smoking costs Welsh NHS £386 million a year
  • Each of us spends £129 on treating smokers
  • 22 per cent of all adult hospital admissions are a result of smoking

Ash Cymru's chief executive Elen de Lacy speaks to ITV Wales ahead of tomorrow's smoking ban anniversary.

Subsequent campaigns have been introduced - either to encourage people to kick the habit, or to protect people from passive smoking.

Vending machines can no longer sell cigarettes and there are restrictions on advertising tobacco products.

Several Welsh health boards, most recently Aneurin Bevan and Cardiff and Vale, have banned smoking on any part of their hospital premises – inside or out.

In February this year, the Welsh Government launched a high-profile three-year campaign to discourage drivers from smoking in cars when children are present. An outright ban could be introduced if the campaign is not shown to be effective.

And last month Wales's leading cancer charity Tenovus joined calls for Wales to become an entirely tobacco-free society.

For more information on smoking and advice on how to quit, visit Stop Smoking Wales