Previous event

Policy reunion: Reducing smoking rates

Monday 9 May 2011, 00:30

As part of our Better policy-making theme, along with the Political Studies Association (PSA), we held a series of 'policy reunion' seminars with the Political Studies Association on policies its members ranked as successes of the last 30 years in an Institute survey.

On 9 May The Institute for Government held a policy reunion of the key players that were involved in policies to reduce tobacco use in England, which lead to the enactment of the ban on smoking in public places in 2005.


  • Rt Hon Lord Reid of Cardowan - Secretary of State for Health, 2003-2005
  • Sir Liam Donaldson - Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, 1998-2010
  • Rt Hon Kevin Barron MP - Chair of the Health Select Committee, 2005-2010
  • Deborah Arnott - Director, Action on Smoking and Health, 2003 to present
  • Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP - Opposition health spokesman, 1996-7; Minister of State, Department of Health, 1997-1999
  • Professor John Britton - Professor of Epidemiology, University of Nottingham; Director UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies
  • Steve Woodward - Director ASH Australia, 1981-93; Deputy Director, ASH UK, 1993-4

The event was chaired by Institute for Government Director Lord Andrew Adonis.

About this event

For over 40 years government policies focused on reducing the toll of death and disease from tobacco use.

In the policy reunion we looked at the development of those policies, which reduced smoking prevalence from 80% of men in 1950 (the year Richard Doll and Austin Bradford Hill published their groundbreaking study that outlined the link between smoking and lung cancer) to 25% in 2005, and culminated in the ban on smoking in public places in England in 2005.

The panel:

  • discussed how the policy evolved and critical decisions were made;
  • explored the interactions between Ministers and civil servants within Whitehall, with Parliament and with the and the outside world;
  • drew out lessons for present-day policy makers.

More information