Coleen Nolan: Stop treating smokers like lepers
Calls to extend the smoking ban to outside areas of schools, pubs and restaurants have met with criticism, as Coleen Nolan claimed smoker s were being "treated like lepers".
The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) said the ban, introduced in 2007, had "de-normalised" smoking and creating further exclusion zones would make the habit more inconvenient for smokers.
But the pro-smoking lobby were joined by the former pop singer as well as Ukip leader Nigel Farage in arguing against more prohibition.
Nolan, writing in the Daily Mirror, said: "Smoking is a revolting habit. But the ban, as it stands, goes far enough.
"It's massively affected pubs and a lot of the landlords suffered. This ban will take another huge toll on their livelihoods.
"If we're going to go so extreme on smokers, let's go that extreme on drinkers. They seem to get away with it a lot lighter. Smokers are all treated like lepers."
Mr Farage also argued that pubs would be impacted upon should the ban be extended, citing figures from the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) which suggested 29 pubs were closing per week.
Writing in the Sun, he said: "These people have already succeeded in closing down thousands of UK pubs. In many cases they were the community hubs and meeting places for lonely people.
"Now extending that ban to outside the pubs would be yet another blow to an industry that is already struggling.
"If these campaigners succeed in stopping us smoking outside pubs I will never visit one again in my life."
A Populus survey for the RSPH found 50% of adults would be more likely to use outside areas in pubs and bars if the ban was extended, while a third of smokers would turn to e-cigarettes to get round it.
Meanwhile, research by Edinburgh University suggested that almost 1,500 stillbirths and newborn deaths were averted in the first four years after the law was enacted - representing a drop of 8% for both mortality rates in England.