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Public wants smoking ban in cars, says survey

The British public wants the Government to take action to make Britain healthier, according to a report, Healthy Nudges: When the Public Wants Change and the Politicians Don’t Know It, published by the Faculty of Public Health (FPH).

Rachael Jolley, report co-author and FPH’s Head of Policy, said of the findings: “Polling results carried out for this report show that the British really care about the nation’s health and want stronger government action when it comes to issues such as smoking, sport in schools and organ-donation.  Personal responsibility is important, but the British public seems to be overwhelmingly of the opinion that government intervention has its part to play too.”
Alan Maryon-Davis, report co-author and FPH’s Immediate Past President, said: “We hope that the Government will take note of the public’s call for action and their priorities signalled in this paper as well as consider history’s lessons showing that personal responsibility, societal change and government action can combine to create the right levers for improving health.”

John Middleton, FPH’s Vice-President, said: “The smoking ban in public places in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England was partly introduced because of the strong public support for action.  There seems to be a similar mood for change now, which the coalition government should take heed of and push through other important legislation that will make a difference to Britain’s health.”

The findings:

  • 82% of the public believes that alcohol manufacturers should be required to print detailed information about the calories and units of alcohol contained in each bottle or can
  • 81% back the measure of making two hours of sport compulsory in schools each week
  • 78% overall support the introduction of an at-a-glance food-labelling system with clear information about levels of fat, sugar and salt
  • 74% are in favour of banning smoking in cars with children
  • 60% support an opt-out organ donation system, rather than the opt-in system currently in place
  • The top three public health measures that the public would like the new government to take action on are:

                            1.     Making at least two hours of sport in schools compulsory
                            2.     Banning anyone from smoking in a car when children are on board
                            3.     Introducing an opt-out system for organ transplants

  • 22% was the average prediction of the proportion of the health budget currently being spent on public health, rather than treating illness
  • 29% was the proportion of the health budget that respondents said should be spent on public health measures
  • 4% of the overall health budget goes to public health in England, according to reports.

In a separate survey, 81% of 548 FPH’s public health specialist members agreed or strongly agreed that a greater proportion of the health budget should be spent on preventing people getting ill, than was currently the case.

Read the full Healthy Nudges report.

Written: 18/08/2010 , last modified: 02/02/2011