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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 October, 2004, 18:30 GMT 19:30 UK
Liverpool votes for smoking ban
Liverpool is the first city in the UK to ban smoking
A special petition must be presented to the Commons
Liverpool has become the first city in the UK to ban smoking in public places following a decision by councillors.

They will have to petition Parliament by 27 November so that a smoke-free law for Liverpool can be considered in the next legislative session.

The ban makes it illegal to smoke in restaurants, pubs, shops, offices and other enclosed workplaces.

The council says it will impose a fine of 1,000 on anyone breaching the law, which it wants passed within a year.

Introducing the smoking ban will help people give up
Cllr Richard Oglethorpe

Councillor Richard Oglethorpe, the city council's executive member of green issues, said more than 1,000 people died of illnesses related to passive smoking each year in Liverpool.

He said a ban was supported by smokers and non-smokers alike.

"Liverpool is the lung cancer capital of the United Kingdom. It's not a title we're proud of, it's one we want to get rid of," he said.

"Most smokers want to give up and the place where they find it hardest to give up is when you go into a bar.

"You've had a few drinks, everyone else is smoking so people tend to go back to their old ways. Introducing the smoking ban will help people give up."

'Nanny state'

He rejected claims that a ban, such as the one in force in Ireland, was part of a "nanny state" mentality, and insisted the aim was to protect the health of vulnerable workers.

He had been "quietly confident" a majority of Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors would support the bill.

An official report by medical scientists, which emerged on Monday, found that breathing in secondhand smoke massively increased the risk of lung cancer and heart disease.

Campaigners said the report strengthened the case for a nationwide ban on smoking in public places.

How Liverpool plans to stop smoking in public

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