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Last Updated: Friday, 24 March 2006, 15:47 GMT
Major study on smoking ban impact
Smoking in pub
Researchers believe bar staff health could improve in Scotland
One of the largest studies in the world into the impact of banning smoking on the health of bar staff is to take place in Scotland.

Aberdeen University researchers are to assess the health of 360 bar staff in Aberdeenshire, Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Borders, in a 140,000 study.

The smoking ban in enclosed public places comes into force across Scotland at 0600 BST on Sunday.

It is hoped some initial findings will be available within a few months.

The university's department of environmental and occupational medicine is heading up the NHS Health Scotland-funded research.

It will be an offence to smoke in an enclosed public place, allow others to smoke in no-smoking premises, fail to display no smoking signs, fail to give personal details to an enforcement officer
Individuals face a fixed penalty fine of 50, failure to pay risks a fine of up to 1,000
Operators of premises face a fixed penalty fine of 200 for allowing others to smoke, failure to pay risks a fine of up to 2,500
The law will be enforced by environmental health officers
No smoking signs will carry a named person to whom a complaint can be made
Complaints can also be logged by calling 0845 130 7250
The law covers most indoor places and workplaces, other than homes
Smoking will be permitted in shelters which comply with regulations

The Bar Workers' Health and Environmental Tobacco Smoke Exposure (BHETSE) project is part of the overall NHS Health Scotland strategy to evaluate the effect of the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Bill.

The university's Dr Sean Semple said: "Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is a cause of considerable ill-health, with estimates suggesting ETS causes between 1,500 and 2,000 non-smoker deaths every year in Scotland.

"Workers in the hospitality sector have particularly high levels of ETS exposure."

He said the introduction of smoke-free legislation in other countries suggested hospitality workers may quickly experience improvements in respiratory health.

A small study in San Francisco showed improvements in lung function within eight weeks of a ban introduced there in 1998, while researchers in Ireland also found respiratory symptoms fell in the 12 months following their ban.

Smokers in Glasgow
Smokers will become a common sight on the streets

Dr Semple said: "Our study sets out to find out whether the health of workers in Scotland's bars does improve after the ban is implemented."

Scientists have been gathering data on the lung functions of bar workers in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Borders ahead of the ban.

The team will be going back to repeat their survey two months after the implementation of the ban, and then again at the beginning of 2007.

The study also aims to determine if bar workers who smoke are encouraged to give up smoking and whether the experience of working in a smoke-free environment has influenced their attitudes towards the ban.

It is hoped that some initial findings of the BHETSE project will be available this summer with a full analysis complete by spring next year.

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