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  1. ITV Report

10 years since the smoking ban was introduced to Wales

Today marks 10 years since the ground-breaking legislation banning smoking in enclosed public places came into force across Wales.

Credit: PA

Figures show the controversial ban has helped to bring down smoking rates among adults and teenagers, and as a result saved thousands from harm.

In 2007, 24% of adults in Wales smoked, now levels stand at 19% - more than 94,000 fewer smokers.

A cultural shift has also taken place over the past decade, seeing a vast decrease in the numbers of those who smoke in the home, from 80% to 46% since the ban's implementation.

The smoking ban has resulted in the most positive improvement in the nation's health in decades. The significance of this legislation should not be underestimated. Thousands more children now live in a smokefree home, and hundreds of thousands of people are no longer subjected to the deadly effects of passive smoking.

– Suzanne Cass

Despite the steps forward, ASH Wales believes there is still more work to be done.

Smoking rates have dropped for most of the population except among the unemployed where they have increased from 41% to 43%.

ASH says this shows the stop smoking message still is not engaging these 'hard-to-reach' people and the health inequalities gap between the 'haves' and the 'have nots' in Wales are increasing.

The Welsh Government says it is, 'very proud of what we have achieved in Wales in the last 10 years.' And that is is, 'working hard to reduce smoking to our 16% target by 2020 and to reduce the inequalities caused by smoking.'

We continue to support those who want to quit smoking through our free NHS cessation services, and work in schools, to prevent the uptake of smoking, is targeted at our most deprived communities.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

Meanwhile, pro-smoking group Forest is urging the Welsh Government to review the impact of the smoking ban in Wales and consider an amendment to the legislation that would allow separate, well-ventilated smoking rooms in pubs and clubs.

In its own survey of 1,000 people, it found that 58% of the public think pubs and private members’ clubs should be allowed to provide well-ventilated, designated smoking rooms to accommodate smokers, with only 37% opposed to the idea.

The smoking ban has had a devastating impact on hundreds of pubs in Wales, many of which closed as a direct result of the legislation. We're not suggesting a return to the days of smoke-filled pubs. Instead we want the Welsh Government to give pubs and clubs the option of having a well-ventilated designated smoking room that can accommodate smokers without inconveniencing non-smokers.

– Simon Clark, Forest director