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GPs demand smoking ban in public places.

PRIME Minister Tony Blair is to be deluged with thousands of letters from doctors calling for a ban on smoking in public places.

He is being urged to have the courage to follow Irish Premier Bertie Ahern and introduce the ban.

More than 4,500 doctors across the UK have sent letters to the British Medical Association in the past month detailing their experiences of treating patients affected by second-hand smoke. They will be delivered to Downing Street on Monday.

The BMA had hoped 1,000 doctors - symbolic of the 1,000 people it says die in the UK each year from second hand smoke - would answer their call for letters to the Prime Minister, but were inundated with 4,500.

During a debate at the BMA annual conference, the government was urged to have the courage to follow the lead of Ireland, Norway and New York and introduce a ban on smoking in public places.

The BMA estimates that across the UK three million workers are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke and about 1.3 million are breathing in other people's tobacco smoke at least 75 per cent of the time.

The news comes on the day The Guardian says Labour will consider the ban if it gets in at the next election.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jun 30, 2004
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