Scotland plans to outlaw workplace smoking by 2006

11 November 2004
Scotland plans to outlaw workplace smoking by 2006

The Scottish Executive today outlined its plans for a comprehensive ban on workplace smoking, which will be policed by environmental health and local licensing officers.

Licensees and employers who fail to enforce the rules will face fines of up to £2,500, and repeat offenders risk losing their liquor licence.

Individuals who persistently light up could be fined up to £1,000.

The legislation will be introduced in the Health Service (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill which will be put before Parliament by Christmas.

The predicted effect of the ban on Scottish hospitality businesses ranges between an annual loss of £63m and a gain of £281m a year according to a study by the University of Aberdeen, largely because the impact on bars remains uncertain.

First Minister Jack McConnell said an outright ban would be easier to enforce and simpler to understand than less comprehensive options.

"We will take steps to implement this decision together with those affected, not simply to impose it on those who are addicted, or worried about their business," he said.

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association has pledged to fight "tooth and nail" against an outright ban which it fears will threaten 30,000 jobs and endanger rural community pubs.

The organisation's chief executive Paul Waterson is concerned that there will not be enough officers to enforce the ban. "It will be the pub owners who will be obliged to enforce this law in reality or risk losing their licence and their livelihood," he said.

The British Government's long-awaited White Paper on health is expected to be published next week but an outright ban is not anticipated.

Under-secretary of state for health, Lord Warner, today refused to confirm that a yet-to-be-published report claimed that second-hand smoke increased the risk of lung cancer by 25% and of heart disease by 24%.

by Angela Frewin

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