The British Dental Health Foundation has overwhelmingly backed new measures recommended by the Royal Society of Public Health and called on these measures to be implemented by government, businesses and consumers.
These recommendations include introducing a smoking exclusion zone outside schools, pubs and bars where the public can no longer smoke (including beer gardens), the mandatory sale of e-cigarettes or NRT wherever tobacco is sold and the inclusion of e-cigarettes in smoking cessation services.
BDHF Chief Executive Dr Nigel Carter, who is a long time trustee of the Royal Society of Public Health, commented: “There needs to be major changes made to protect the next generation from deadly diseases, such as mouth cancer, which are caused by cigarette smoking.
“Smoking is heavily linked to many serious oral health problems including gum disease, which is the most common cause of tooth loss in UK adults; it is also responsible for the majority of mouth cancers and is the direct cause of thousands of deaths every year.
“Every year almost seven thousand people in the UK are diagnosed with mouth cancer, and it leads to more deaths than testicular and cervical cancer combined.
“Unlike the original smoking ban, which focussed on the dangers of second hand smoking, these measures are designed to stop the behaviour of people smoking in highly visible areas from influencing the behaviour of children and other individuals.
"If we can get smokers to use safer forms of nicotine, like e-cigarettes, in prominent public locations we will hopefully change the perception of nicotine as a seriously harmful product itself. In fact, outside of cigarettes and in low doses nicotine is no more harmful to health than caffeine.
"But as the report stated ‘public confusion reigns, with 9 in 10 believing nicotine is harmful to health', where in reality it is the many other chemicals in cigarettes, such as arsenic, which are the cause of many deadly diseases.
"If the government adopt the recommendations in this report then there is an opportunity to have the same effect as the 2007 smoking ban, which has saved thousands of lives by encouraging people to quit smoking. Over 400 000 people gave up in the years succeeding the ban, whilst 7 million still smoke 65% of these express a wish to quit. The cost to the NHS of treating smoking related illness is estimated at some £13 billion a year and half of those who smoke will die of smoking related disease."