LONDON, May 10 (UPI) -- The British government is working on a plan to ban smoking in pubs and restaurants throughout the country, The Daily Mail reported Monday.
The Labor government has so far rejected voluntary restrictions and is looking for a way to implement a ban similar to those in Ireland, California and New York City. Similar laws are also on the way in Holland, Norway and Sweden.
Health authorities said they are determined to cut the number of smokers, which is about one in four in order to meet targets on improving public health.
Health officials said curbs on tobacco advertising, a higher tax on cigarettes and putting larger warnings on packages have gone as far as they can without tightening the law on where smokers can light up.
However, to avoid a backlash from 13 million smokers, the government could hand responsibility for imposing the ban to local authorities -- a move scorned by restaurant industry chiefs.
Approximately 120,000 Britons die each year of smoking-related illnesses.