This week's UK news: 5 February 2010
5 February 2010

More bans on smoking?

Smoking is already banned in public buildings in Britain. Now the Government is thinking about banning cigarette smoking outside too.

It has been illegal to smoke in pubs, bars, restaurants, clubs, cinemas, theatres and office buildings for almost three years. You will often see people smoking in groups round the doorways of pubs and offices.

Now the Government is thinking about banning smoking from office doorways, outside pubs and clubs, and in bus shelters. It will also think about only allowing cigarettes to be sold in plain brown packs, and banning cigarette machines.

The Health minister wants to halve the number of British smokers from 20 to 10 per cent of the population by 2020. This would mean 4,000,000 people stopping smoking.

Changes in family earnings

New research showed how British women’s pay has changed over the past 40 years.

Now women earn at least the same as their partner in 44 per cent of homes, compared with 18 per cent in 1968.

And 2.7 million women are now paid more than their partners. This means women are bringing home the most money in 25 per cent of homes now, compared with five per cent in 1968, according to the Oxford University PhD student who did the study.

The changes have happened because more women go to university, and become mothers later. There are also more jobs now open to women.

Swine flu finished

The British swine flu epidemic seems to have ended. The Government is closing the special swine flu phone line and website next week. Anyone who thinks they have caught the flu then should just go to their ordinary doctor.

Numbers of people catching the flu have been dropping since the start of the year. There are under 5,000 new cases each week.

Swine flu has not been a serious illness in most cases. Tests show that up to half of school children in some places have been infected. But many of them did not feel ill and did not realise they had swine flu.

When exercise doesn’t make you fit

Around 20 per cent of people don’t get fitter from taking regular exercise, according to new research from the University of London.

This is because the health benefits are decided by the way our bodies are made (by our genes).

People who don’t get fitter can still lose weight and feel good after exercising. But doctors say they may need to choose other ways of staying healthy such as eating well or taking prescription drugs.


by Susan Young


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