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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 December, 2003, 12:43 GMT
Scotland seeks public smoking ban
Smoky bar
Bans can stop passive smoking as well as direct smoking
Smoking in public could be banned in Scotland under plans being considered by the Scottish Executive.

Public consultation over its Tobacco Action Plan will be launched in the spring, said an official.

Deputy Health Minister Tom McCabe said a smoke-free Scotland might be a long-term vision, but "it is a vision that demands our action".

Scotland has the worst smoking record in the UK and 13,000 deaths a year from smoking-related diseases.

Banning smoking in public places has been adopted by Ireland and parts of the United States, including New York.

The evidence is quite clear that passive smoking is dangerous to health
Stewart Maxwell MSP

The executive said the step might be necessary in Scotland to cut cancer deaths.

"We want to see a society in which everybody aspires to live a healthy, smoke-free life and has access to the support that can help them realise this ambition," said Mr McCabe.

However, an exeutive spokesman said it would require support from the public.

"We want to see what people think of smoking in public places and passive smoking and one of the options could be legislation bringing in a ban.

"But we can only decide where we want to go once we've taken everyone's views into account."

Restaurant puffing

Dr Richard Sullivan, head of clinical programmes at Cancer Research UK, said he welcomed the "proactive" stance on passive smoking.

"It is a very important issue, especially for Scottish men and women where the rates (of smoking related illnesses) are higher.

"This move for a public consultation brings it into the wider forum and will help explain the serious dangers of smoking to the public.

Cigarette
Charities have welcomed the move
"It is good the executive has the devolved power to push on with this and not have to hang around for Westminster to approve it."

Scottish National Party MSP Stewart Maxwell plans to introduce a member's bill at the Scottish Parliament banning smoking in places where food is served.

He held his own two-month consultation process and said the public were in favour of his proposals.

He said: "The evidence is quite clear that passive smoking is dangerous to health.

"It causes asthma in children, chest complaints in non-smokers and people are dying from passive smoking.

"We are also trying to help smokers to give up by creating an attitude that it is no longer acceptable to smoke in certain places."


SEE ALSO:
Q&A: Passive smoking
25 Nov 03  |  Medical notes
Call to ban smoking in public
25 Nov 03  |  Scotland
Charity backs anti-smoking bill
08 Nov 03  |  Scotland
Debate on smoking ban
28 Oct 03  |  London
Norway gets tough on smoking
24 Oct 03  |  Health
EU public smoking ban considered
19 Sep 03  |  Health


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