You can keep the home fags burning

Fag-loving football fans may soon be barred from lighting up in Norwich's pubs and clubs, but there are no plans to stop them puffing away at Carrow Road.

Fag-loving football fans may soon be barred from lighting up in Norwich's pubs and clubs, but there are no plans to stop them puffing away at Carrow Road.

Norwich City Football Club today said it would not be coerced into introducing a complete smoking ban at the ground, despite calls by a Norwich MP and other clubs going ahead with bans.

That would be good news for the Canaries' majority shareholder and heavy smoker Michael Wynn Jones, husband of Delia Smith, and City chairman Roger Munby, who also smokes.

Earlier this month, MPs voted to ban smoking in all enclosed public places in England, including pubs and private members' clubs.

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Outside locations were spared, but smoking could still be banned at places that are "substantially enclosed", such as football grounds and railway platforms. The Government is expected to hold a three-month consultation with the public on the issue when the smoking ban comes into effect, probably in summer 2007. Details of how exemptions will work and the extent of fines for those who flout the law will be outlined in regulations to be published for consultation.

Some clubs, including Premiership big boys Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion, have already gone ahead with complete bans.

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Fans of football league club Leicester City this month voted overwhelmingly to ban smoking at its Walkers Stadium in a vote taken at half-time during a match.

Now Norwich North MP Ian Gibson has called for a complete ban on smoking at Carrow Road.

He said: "There should be a complete ban at the ground including the directors' box and associated hospitality suites. There is a need to be consistent."

His call was echoed by ASH (Action on Smoking and Health). A spokesman said: "We hope the Government includes sports stadia in its list of places where smoking will be banned. It's absurd that smoking is still allowed at sports grounds when it's banned in workplaces and other public places."

But the Canaries, whose ground is about 50 per cent non-smoking, are not wavering. A spokesman said: "We will listen carefully to what our supporters want, but at present there are no plans for a total ban. There is no smoking in the Jarrold Stand, lounges in the City Stand or in the Family Enclosure. However, smoking is permitted in the concourse of the Jarrold Stand and on the terraces in the other stands."

Health experts would welcome a ban. A British Medical Association spokeswoman said: "Second-hand smoke costs lives."

Norwich City Independent Supporters Association's chairman Roy Blower would also welcome a ban. Today he supported Dr Gibson, but questioned whether it would go down well with Mr Wynn Jones or Mr Munby.

Ü What do you think about the decision not to ban smoking? Write to Letters, Evening News, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE, email or visit

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