On 26 October 2005, after days of opposition and debates within the Cabinet, the government announced that it would continue with its plans. All workplaces, including restaurants and pubs selling food, will have to have a ban in place by summer 2007 However, there was wide criticism from all sides of the argument on this, with even many MPs threatening to try to overturn the bill. Many representatives of the licensed trade told the government only a total ban will work, and over 90 MPs signed a motion demanding a total ban, with over 100 signing for a free vote on the issue. It was reported on 24 November that chief medical officer Liam Donaldson nearly quit over the partial ban, but decided to stay to champion a total ban. On the same day, the government released the results of the public consultation, after Cancer Research UK demanded them under the Freedom of Information Act, which revealed that nearly 9 out of 10 respondents wanted a total ban, resulting in further embarrassment to the government.
On 11 January 2006, the government further announced that it would give MPs a free vote on an amendment to the Health Bill, submitted by the health select committee, to instigate a total ban on public smoking. Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt voted in favour of the amendment and, in so doing, voted against her own department's policy. All other parties had offered free votes on the issue which was debated on 14 February, with 3 options - the present compromise, a total ban, or an exemption for members clubs only.
On 14 February 2006, the House of Commons first voted on the amendment to the original compromise plan, to extend the ban to all enclosed public places except private members' clubs. The amendment was carried with a large majority. MPs then voted on a further amendment to ban smoking in all enclosed public places including private members' clubs. Again this amendment gained significant support and was carried with a large majority. This therefore replaced the earlier successful amendment which would have allowed smoking only in private members' clubs. The legislation was passed by the House of Lords allowing a total smoking ban in enclosed public places to come into force in England.
On 7 June 2007, the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee accused the government of overreacting to the threat posed by passive smoking and said that the smoking ban was symptomatic of MPs' failure to understand risk.
On the 10 August 2007, Network Europe and Deutsche Welle's Carol Allen has said that the no smoking sign is grammatically incorrect as it should say “It is against the law to smoke on these premises”, not “It is against the law to smoke in these premises”. It has also led to an increase in "smirting", flirting with someone while they are out for a cigarette.
While the ban affects almost all public indoor spaces and places of work, some places are excluded from the ban, such as:
Smoking is also permitted in the Palace of Westminster, as it is for other palaces, although members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords agreed to observe the ban and ban all smoking in the palace except for four designated outside areas.
Smoking is allowed in a private house, but one must not smoke in areas that one works in, or in "public" areas such as shared corridors.
Although prisons and hotel rooms are exempt, university halls of residence pose a dilemma for defining what is public and private. Some universities have imposed a blanket ban including halls of residence and some have not.
There have been several incidents of violence perpetrated by people refusing to obey the smoking regulations. In one incident, a former heavyweight boxer, James Oyebola, was shot in the head after he asked a customer at a nightclub to stop smoking. He later died of his injuries.. On 9 October 2008, Kanyanta Mulenga was found guilty of Mr Oyebola's murder and was given a life sentence with a recommendation from the judge that he serve at least 28 years.
The group have now withdrawn their Judicial Review application and are no longer pursuing it