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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 August, 2004, 19:32 GMT 20:32 UK
Smoking debate hears north views
Smoking advert
Smoking is a major cause of ill-health in Scotland
People in the Highlands have been putting forward their views on banning smoking in public places.

The latest in a series of meetings across Scotland took place at the Ramada Jarvis Hotel in Inverness on Tuesday evening.

Despite indicating opposition to an outright ban, the Scottish Executive has vowed that the consultation will have an impact on smoking policy.

The panel for the consultation included Deputy Minister for Health Tom McCabe.

Mr McCabe said: "Many Scots wish to breathe smoke-free air.

Smoky atmosphere

"Whilst we recognise smokers' personal choice to smoke, the health impacts of a smoky atmosphere must be taken into account."

The minister added: "Legislation is obviously an option, but all options will be considered."

About 13,000 people die in Scotland each year from smoking-related illness.

Similar consultations have taken place in Dundee and Glasgow, with another event planned for Aberdeen, as well as smaller meetings across the country.

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