Smoking in enclosed public places will be banned in England from 1 July next year, the government has announced. The ban covers virtually all enclosed public places including offices, factories, pubs and bars, but not outdoors or in private homes. It follows similar bans in the Irish Republic and Scotland - a ban in Wales starts on 2 April. Ministers say it will protect everyone from passive smoking, but opponents say the total ban is "draconian". From 1 July pubs and restaurants will have to display prominent "no smoking" signs around their premises. Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said the ban was a "huge step forward" which would save thousands of people's lives. The cost of implementing the ban has been estimated at about £50m.