BMA (British Medical Association) Scotland is today launching a campaign to encourage members of the public to have their say in the Scottish Executive's consultation on smoking in public places.

Breathe better in Scotland, a poster campaign for GP surgeries, highlights the impact that second hand tobacco smoke in public places has on both children and adults and encourages patients to use their time while waiting for their GP consultation, to complete a consultation response form.

"It is widely accepted by everyone, except the tobacco industry, that passive smoking kills. As doctors, we treat patients whose health is affected by tobacco smoke and we feel strongly that firm action is needed to tackle this public health problem," said Dr Peter Terry, chairman of the BMA in Scotland.

"Endless surveys have shown that the majority of the public would support legislation to ban smoking in public places and it is important that this consultation is used as an opportunity to express their views.

"We have already witnessed the success of legislation in countries like Ireland where they have achieved more than 95% compliance in only six months. Impressively, in addition to the benefit to non-smokers, we have also seen smoking levels in Ireland drop by almost 4%. Meanwhile in Scotland one third of the adult population smokes, less than one per cent of bars and restaurants are smoke free and only half of all workers work in a smoke free environment. More than 13,000 Scots die each year from smoking related illnesses and of these, more than 100 die as a result of breathing other people's smoke."

Edinburgh GP, Dr Michael Byrne, is backing the campaign. He said: "Many of my patients smoke, but many of them also wish to give up. I believe a ban on smoking in public places would help them to achieve that goal. Most importantly, an increasing number of my patients suffer from respiratory conditions such as asthma which is worsened when they are exposed to tobacco smoke.

"Rather than reading a magazine while they wait for their appointments, I hope that my patients take the opportunity to complete a consultation response form and have their say in this consultation."

Ends

Note to Editors

of Dr Peter Terry and Dr Michael Byrne will be available from the BMA Scotland press office.

BMA Scotland has distributed campaign posters and pens to every GP practice in Scotland. Dr Byrne is based at Restalrig Medical Centre in North East Edinburgh.

Consultation response forms are available in GP surgeries across Scotland and online at www.smokingconsultation

PDF Images of posters for the "Breathe better in Scotland" campaign are available from the BMA Scotland press office. Contact Beatrice Kennedy, Public Affairs Officer on 0131 247 3052 or email bkennedybma

The Scottish Executive consultation closes on 30 September 2004.

BMA reports on the effects of smoking: Towards smoke-free public places and Smoking & reproductive life - the impact of smoking on sexual, reproductive & child health are available at bma

More facts and information about the harmful effects of tobacco smoke are available at tobacco-control

Launch Date:
Thursday 26 August 2004
Time:
11.00am
Venue:
Restalrig Park Medical Centre
40 Alemoor Crescent
Edinburgh
EH7 6UJ

For more information please contact:
Scottish Press Office
Tel: 0131 247 3050/3052 Mobile: 07979 510421
Fax: 0131 247 3051
Email: press.scotlandbma

BMA Scottish Office
14 Queen Street
Edinburgh
EH2 1LL

Tel: (0131) 247 3000
Fax: (0131) 247 3001

email: info.edinburghbma

Web: bma/scotland

After 6.00 pm and weekends:
07979 510421

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