England Douses Public Smoking
New law clears the air in enclosed spaces
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2007 2:55 PM CDT
A man lights up a cigarette in a shop in York, England Friday June 29, 2007 two days before the smoking ban comes into force in England on July 1. Smokers are expected to flock to pubs, bars and clubs...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The English ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces, including bars, workplaces, and public buildings, went into effect at 6am today. The effort to improve indoor air quality and inconvenience some smokers into quitting will cause grumbling, says the country's chief medical officer, but "on the whole, the majority of smokers and non-smokers wanted this change."

Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland already enforce similar bans, as do Ireland and some European countries. More than 1% of English smokers will kick the habit because of the new legislation, the government predicts. But some long-time smokers are fuming. Artist David Hockney calls it a "grotesque piece of social engineering" imposed by a "political and media elite."