Public health white paper a significant improvement but golden opportunity missed on smoking ban, says The King's Fund

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The King's Fund today welcomes the government's public health White Paper as a huge step to improve the health of the nation, but insisted ministers had wasted a golden opportunity to opt for an outright smoking ban which has been shown to be highly effective in other countries.

The King's Fund chief executive Niall Dickson said:

'This package of measures to tackle obesity, sexual health, mental health and binge drinking could go a long way to improve the health of the nation. But the absence of a complete ban on smoking in public places is a real disappointment. There must be a danger that this partial ban will not have the galvanising effect that we have seen in Ireland and other countries where smoking has been stopped in all public places. We hope that ministers will be more courageous in time.'

The King's Fund director of health policy Anna Coote added:

'Behind the headlines, it's also clear that there is a strong emphasis on harnessing the power of local government, other public services, communities, employers and the media. This will be essential - as will be getting the right incentives and funding in place. A commitment to closely monitor progress and to respond to problems in implementation is also crucial and, as an independent health body, we will ensure we play our full role in this process.'

Notes to editors

1. For further information or interviews, please contact The King's Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2585.

2. The King's Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through grants. We are a major resource to people working in health, offering leadership and education courses; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.