Just 3% of premises inspected during the first two weeks of the smoking ban in England did not comply with the law, Department of Health figures revealed today.
In the first two weeks after 1 July, inspectors visited 88,899 public premises, including 1,090 hotels, 6,783 restaurants and 9,568 licensed operators.
They found that 97% were complying with the law, while 79% were displaying the correct no smoking signage.
That time also saw just one fixed penalty notice issued for ‘wilfully flouting the law', while 142 written warnings were issued to people who failed to prevent smoking in a smoke-free place. Warnings accounted for just 0.2% of all premises visited.
Public health minister Dawn Primarolo said: "When we introduced the smoke free law last month, we predicted that it would be largely self-enforcing based on experience elsewhere and the fact that three-quarters of the public supported the move.
"These figures confirm that, just as happened previously in Ireland then Scotland, England saw very high levels of compliance in the first few days. All the signs are that businesses and the public have taken the new law in their stride."
By Christopher Walton