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Poll: Huge majority opposed to ban on smoking at home

Sun 29th October, 2017

The public is overwhelmingly opposed to a ban on smoking at home, according to a new poll published today.

The survey, conducted by Populus for the smokers' group Forest, found that 76 per cent of adults thought smoking should be allowed to smoke in their own homes with only 20 per cent against. [1]

The online poll of 2,101 adults was commissioned after anti-smoking campaigners called for a debate about smoking in the home. Earlier this month Dr Sean Semple, an academic at Aberdeen University, told the Sunday Times Scotland:

“As a nation, I think we need to have a debate on why we currently think it acceptable to expose nonsmokers, including children, to secondhand tobacco smoke within indoor spaces. I think that debate needs to include smoking in the home." [2]

The paper also reported that the chief executive of the anti-smoking group ASH Scotland was seeking a meeting with the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations to discuss the possibility of a smoking ban.

In May 2017 it was reported that council housing tenants in England could be banned from smoking in their own homes under new rules being considered by some councils.

Professor John Middleton, president of the Faculty of Public Health, told the Sunday Times: "Housing associations and councils are looking at smoke-free housing buildings. Where children are involved I think there is a real case for it." [3]

Simon Clark, director of Forest, said:

"The poll is a reminder that most people don’t support an extreme anti-smoking agenda.

“The public understands that punishing adults for smoking in their own home would represent a gross invasion of privacy.

"They know too that a ban could only be enforced if neighbours and family members were encouraged to report one another. For most people that's a deeply disturbing prospect.”

Dismissing claims that anti-smoking groups do not support a ban on smoking at home, Clark added:

"I've no doubt at all that one of the long-term goals of the tobacco control industry is a ban on smoking in the home, starting with social housing.

“Prohibition is part of their DNA. The only way they can hope to achieve their ambition of a smoke free world is to persecute smokers into submission."

Populus interviewed a nationally representative sample of 2,101 UK adults aged 18+ from its online panel between 18-20 October 2017. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.populus.co.uk.

References:
1. 'Puff away says poll on smoking at home' (Sunday Times Scotland, October 29, 2017), https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/puff-away-says-poll-on-smoking-at-home-rwrjm3gjs
2. 'Ban smoking at home say Scots campaigners' (Sunday Times Scotland, October 15, 2017), http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/08/council-house-residents-could-banned-smoking-homes/
3. 'Council tenants ‘must stop smoking’ (Sunday Times, May 7, 2017), https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/council-tenants-must-stop-smoking-87gcxv8d2

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