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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 March 2006, 17:52 GMT
Smoking panel: Davy Douglas
Davy Douglas
Name: Davy Douglas
Age: 51
Lives: Dumfries
Works: Retired firefighter
Part 1 of the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act, officially entitled "Smoking: Prohibition and Control" comes into force at 0600 hours this Sunday, at a time when most of us will most probably be tucked-up in bed, possibly sleeping off a "few too many" from the night before and smokers from around Scotland will have enjoyed their last legal cigarette in licensed premises.

At this late stage there is still little tangible sign of the impending change, with many people almost in denial of what is about to happen, but it will surely be a strange, almost eerie feeling to enter certain premises on Sunday to encounter a totally different "atmosphere".

But it is my hope that the layers of smoke are the only part of the pub atmosphere that will disappear after the ban.

I sincerely hope that all the other benefits of places where people congregate for recreational purposes, including cafes, community clubs and even bingo halls, will remain intact.

By this I mean the company, the conviviality, the humour, the debate (heated or otherwise) and the overall sense of community and belonging that are generated, particularly to those who may otherwise be "home alone" and isolated in their community.

Smokers in Dumfries will awaken to a new atmosphere

I cannot predict the future, however there is no guarantee that this is a final solution and like most changes in society I would expect it to evolve as problems arise and answers are found.

The timing of the ban is perhaps also significant, coming as it does at the start of spring and (hopefully) some warmer weather, which will lessen the immediate impact of having to "pop outside" for a smoke.

Finally, during a conversation with an old and learned friend recently, I was reminded about the introduction of car seat belt legislation in the early 1970s, which was opposed widely and defied by many motorists at the outset, but which quickly became accepted and has undoubtedly saved many thousands of lives over the past 30 years.

I hope that our children and grandchildren will look back at today's smoking ban 30 years hence and be able to see similar results.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and are not endorsed by the BBC.

We asked for you views on the ban. The following represents the balance of opinion we received.

I think it is a great idea. As a former smoker, I think smoking is an addictive habit that many people can not quit.
eleanor leszczak, Lake City, USA

I feel that your fear of the atmosphere of community and convivialty being lost after the smoking ban as odd. I dont recall ever being with a group of friends where no one was smoking and desperately hoping that someone would light up so that we could "enjoy" ourselves!!!!
Alan Donaldson, Edinburgh

I had smoked for 20 years starting at the tender age of 14. As I got older and wiser, I soon realised the destruction I was doing to my body. Chucking it was relatively easy as I am in control of my body and not sum tobacco fuelled with a ridiculous amount of poisonous chemicals. I look at many smokers these days, some whom claim to be intelligent and watch the puff themselves to death; how can they be? Maybe this will be the final hurdle for their cessation and we can all reap the benefits in years to come both physically and financially.
Billy Ray, Largs

Davy quotes the introduction of the seat belt. My own view is that in your own car it should be your choice whether you use a seat belt or not. The grounds for this law was based on saving lifes has it judge for yourself check out how many people still die in road traffic accidents - National Statistics. I passed an accident the other day up the road from me, where the car was on its roof with the guy strapped in, he sadly died at the scene. Having a seat belt on did not prevent his death. People should have freedom of choice and the rights of non smokers and smokers should be respected.
Sharon Donald, Derby

I think people will adjust to the ban and that's fair enough. But when it's suggested that car use between 8am and 10am is to be rationed or banned because of pollution affecting our children on the way to school, as a non driver I will be right out there with my placade saying "Right On! And about time too".
Alan, Edinburgh

Tony - do you drive a car? Stop polluting MY atmosphere with YOUR disgusting carcenogens (and destroying the planet in the process) and I'll stop polluting yours.
Alan, United Kingdom

It doesn't worry me that the smoking ban will prevent me from having a cigarette with my pint. I think it's sensible that bar staff shouldn't be exposed to customers' smoke, because lets be honest, that's really the only decent argument for the ban. I just worry that smoking wont be the only thing that's removed from the environment of the pub this sunday.
Jackson, Edinburgh

The message appears to be...if you need to smoke and try to get used to the new law, then no problems. I can see a lot of people continuing to smoke knowing they will not be fined if the act aggresively because Jack is an understanding guy who is willing to wait a while before enforcing the law. Jack's message might just cause additional problems from non-smokers / smokers who are not breaking the law, who might all become upset at seeing illegal puffers who seem not be alarmed or indeed fined. It might have been better if the fine for smoking was harder on the pocket, with additional enforcers, as well as a definitive message of NO SMOKING.
Mark, Wemyss Bay

This ban hasn't come soon enough. I find the pro-choice argument expressed by many smokers absolutley ridiculous. They are not being denied the right to smoke, it will just be more difficult for them to do so. Someone might choose the right to carry radioactive waste around in public but does this make it acceptable? It is only right that those who chose to indulge in a disgusting carcinogenic pastime be the ones who make the allowances.
Tony, Glasgow

Never mind congratulating the change in 30 years time. After a couple of visits to the pub after Sunday - the next visit to a pub in England or somewhere else where smoking is still allowed will be enough to convince anyone that it is a good thing - and make us wonder why it wasn't done years ago.
Alan, Glasgow

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