The Scottish Executive has said that it will introduce a ban on smoking in public places.
First Minister Jack McConnell and Scottish health bodies were said to favour the proposal.
However, Paul Waterson, of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association claims that while his members back new curbs, a full ban could destroy their businesses.
Earlier this year Ireland introduced a ban on smoking in pubs and restaurants which has been hailed a success.
Should the Scottish government introduce a ban on smoking in public places? Do you live in a country where there are already restrictions on smoking or where smoking is more freely accepted? Send us your comments and experiences.
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:
If pubs were licensed as 'smoking' or 'non-smoking' then landlords could choose whichever they thought best for their business and the law could still be used to enforce non-smoking bars. If the demand for non-smoking pubs is as great as the responses so far suggest, then most landlords would choose the non-smoking option and smokers' 'rights' would not be infringed.
Jon, Reading, UK.
No one should have the "right" to inflict a health hazard on anyone else. If I threw asbestos dust on cigarette smokers they would soon be screaming about health hazards. They are a selfish bunch of people who have had thier own way for far too long.
John Salkeld, Sheffield, England
It would be better to allow pubs to be split in two with non smoking in lounges and restaurants, where families can go and smoking in bars - only where this is not possible should smoking be banned entirely. But I do not expect this to happen as the Scottish Parliament has become an elected dictatorship; one has only to look at Section 2a *Clause 28) legislation and the ignoring of 1 million voters views to confirm this! I am a non smoker!
Duncan, Ayrshire, Scotland
I am not a smoker but I feel uncomfortable with this issue. Smoking is not illegal and smokers probably pay a higher proportion of their incomes in taxes than any other social group. To criminalise them for something that is legal strikes me as something bordering on the immoral. Surely pubs can chose to be smoking or not and employ smokers as bar staff. I am happy for a ban in restaurants and cinemas but unsure at pubs.
Jim Kirk, Basildon UK
We've had a smoking ban in New York City for a while and the bars are still packed. Smoking has also declined here by 10% in the last year. Where's the problem?
Gahan Haskins, New York City, USA
I've been to several pubs in the City after work. Some are so smoky I can hardly breathe so I simply leave and go elsewhere. Some are completely non-smoking, some are in between. All are packed. So why not let the publican decide which clientele they wish to attract?
Even though I'm still a smoker, I don't believe anyone, anywhere should have to be subjected to my second hand smoke if they choose not to. I will say though that I would be more likely to spend my money in an establishment that provides a separate, well ventilated smoking area as a compromise that attends to the needs of both parties.
Jerry Malone, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA
I think smoking should be banned almost everywhere, at least everywhere inside buildings, and only allowed in open spaces. A good thing to do would also be to raise the price of tobacco so that it becomes a luxury article. Here in Spain the non-smokers seem to have fewer rights than the smokers. Almost everywhere smokers can smoke, and non-smokers can't do anything. I really hope this will change soon, if our government takes example of other European countries.
I am all for a ban on smoking. But maybe a compromise is in order. Instead of a ban why not start off with limitations and gradually go to a ban. This will make it easier for the smokers to adjust and a move forward for the people (myself included) wanting to ban smoking.
Eric, Louisville, USA
Until pubs went all modern and open plan, most of them had "smoking rooms". Reinstate smoking rooms and the problem would be solved. So much for progress - our ancestors realised that not everyone likes smoke and designed their hostelries accordingly. They obviously got it right and were thus way ahead of us on this issue!
Chris B, Bedford, England
Banning smoking does not lead to less people in bars. People go to bars to drink, not to smoke. What, are all smokers going to sit in their homes smoking on the weekend instead of going out to bars and restaurants? Not likely. It hasn't happened anywhere smoking has been banned, and won't happen in Scotland.
Myles, San Francisco, CA
As an ex-pat, I have to say that when I return home I find most pubs disgusting. The stink of stale cigarette smoke is wretched but when the pubs fill up with smokers, the air gets thick and foul. Coming home, I always feel like I need a shower. When we introduced similar bans on smoking in public places in Canada I opposed them on principle - as have many people here. But I have to say that it is so nice being able to sit in a bar here without choking and to come home not stinking like a beer-soaked ashtray. Moreover, once introduced, business does not decline. In fact, most people quite like the ban. Those who want a cigarette can always go outside - and if Canadian smokers can make it outside for a cigarette in the middle of January, British smokers really have nothing to complain about.
Richard Braiswell, Nova Scotia, Canada
There have been bans brought in many cities in the North East and despite claims of ruinous results by bar owners beforehand, there has not been a drop in their business. Personally my wife and I have had to, on visits to Britain, avoid pubs in the evening because the haze of smoke was so unpleasant.
Paul, Lansdale, USA
Every day thousands of cars pass my house. Before catalytic converters you often had to scrape lumps of carbon dust off the windows. Even now the smell of exhaust fumes hangs in the air every rush hour. You want to ban me from smoking a cigarette? What are you afraid of that the exhaust fumes might combust? You are having a laugh
Graham Lloyd, London
If people want to risk their own health and an early death by smoking that's fine with me. All I would ask is that they do this in their own private space and stop inflicting this filthy habit on those of us who don't wish to inhale their noxious smoke. Bring on a ban in England - the sooner the better!
Claire, Chelmsford, Essex
Just ban it everywhere. I am currently attempting to quit the habit. If there was a ban in public places, I and many other people would find it easier to stop.
Jay, Northampton, England
I am a non-smoker, but I still think it is totally unfair that smokers have their rights taken away from them. Any person who isn't selfish and narrow minded can see that a smoker has that choice, seen as it isn't illegal to do so - what about small village pubs? The majority of 'locals' in our village pub are smokers, and who are the people supporting the village pubs in the Winter when there are no tourists? Locals. Either let the publican decide or at the very least allocate a smoking room and non smoking room!
Mel, Castle Douglas, Scotland
As a cigar smoker and never a cigarette smoker this poses a bigger problem for me and other cigar smokers we cannot just go outside a public place , pub etc as our cigar may take anything from 1 hr to 2 Hrs to smoke.
Steve Murray, Aberdeen
Hell, no! Can you imagine anything worse than the nation's pubs being stuffed to the rafters with po-faced non-smokers? The type who whinge about how a small tube of vegetable matter damages their health, then pump exhaust fumes into the lungs of all and sundry? Given the choice between a night out in the company of smokers or non-smokers, I know which I find more entertaining. Live a little, people!
Mike, Ashford, Kent
Good to see so many with a sensible response. Shame about the few who think there "right" to smoke is more important than the effect on anyone else. As an asthma sufferer I'm now going to have to leave this free bar because someone 10ft away has decided that I, and his baby, can suffer for his 'pleasure'.
Ken, Edinburgh & Singapore
Loved going to Irish pubs with no smoking. A No smoking ban is coming to Auckland Pubs and restaurants NZ next month and I can't wait. Proprietors don't despair - once the smell of smoke disappears the non-smokers (the majority) will appear.
Maurice Barton, Auckland, New Zealand
Absolutely - and then in a few years time we can ban the drinking of fizzy drinks and eating food in public, and then walking on footpaths, and then in about 50 years time we ration the air that we breathe, and we'll only be able to breathe Government issue air. God, we are becoming a sad sorry country - if someone wants to smoke, let them. In time the social stigma that is being attached to smoking will kill it off anyway. I'd be more interested in targeting smokers who litter the roads and streets with butts. But beware - this country gets a hefty Tax income from the tobacco industry - ban smoking in public places, smoking will decrease and the shortfall in taxes has got to come from somewhere....
Anne Grey, London UK
When I worked in California, club, restaurant and hotels maintained thousands would lose their jobs if smoking was banned. When smoking was banned, patronage went up, not down. What is really behind the licensed trade complaints is the loss of cigarette sales profits.
Peter, Erlangen, Germany
Having spent a lot of time this year in the US - notably San Francisco and new York - I would say there was minimal impact on bar and restaurant business from the smoking bans in those cities. Places were as packed as ever - the only difference: you don't have to fumigate your clothes when you get home. Some bars had a smoking terrace in the back or people went out onto the pavement - no-one objected. Where does the figure of 30,000 job losses come from, anyway? Is the whole of Scotland likely to stop going out? Doubtful...
Ian , Hong Kong
Smokers are an extremely selfish group of people. Considering the physical harm that smoking can cause, they will often light up around a non smoker without even considering the non smoker's views. At least a uniform ban will eliminate this
Sean, Birmingham, UK
Could someone tell me one reason why non smokers should have to put up with second hand smoke from smokers?
A lot of people are mentioning this 'loss of trade' if smoking is banned in public places. I would be more inclined and more comfortable about going out to pubs, clubs and restaurants knowing that I wouldn't be hit with clouds of smoke that are damaging to my health. I believe a lot of people would feel the same as myself. Bring on a ban in England and Wales!
I was in Dublin earlier this year and even as a smoker, I found the new atmosphere in bars and restaurants more appealing, a ban should be introduced as quickly as possible. We keep hearing how smokers not going to pubs will be bad for business but does anyone know how many non smokers don't go to pubs because of smoking?
Ian, Haverhill, UK
We live in a society where we can do what we want as long as it doesn't harm others. You can drive in a restrained manner, and no-one gets hurt. But go to a public place, and there's no way that you can smoke in a restrained and responsible manner without damaging someone's health. That's why smoking has to be banned.
Chris, Norwich, UK
I think that a smoking ban in restaurants/bars enforced by the government is a bad idea. Many people want to be able to smoke while having a drink. Even before a smoking ban was enacted here in Oregon many bars had voluntarily gone smoke free. Leave it up to bar owners.
Eric, Oregon, USA
As my wife suffers from asthma we have problems when going out for a meal or a drink. We always have to book tables for six o'clock to be finished before the smokers arrive and ruin the evening. I pity the personal who work there in the contaminated atmosphere as their health is ruined whether they smoke or not. They forbid smoking on buses and enforce hefty fines and folk still travel on buses so why should they stop going to the pub?
Harry, Norrköping, Sweden
Smoking should be banned in enclosed public places. I've just come back from North America, and it was so lovely to be able to spend the evening in a pub, bar or club, in Vancouver, Los Angeles or New York, and not end up stinking of cigarettes, or having to decide what to wear on the basis of what you didn't mind having to wash. And what's more, even my North American friends who smoke are in favour of the ban - because it means they smoke less, which saves them money, saves their health, saves their clothes, and doesn't spoil their evening. They just have to nip outside for a cheeky fag now and then - not exactly a huge hardship.
Michael Faulkner, Manchester, UK
I'm a non smoker in favour of smoking bans. However, I don't find it to be fair. Shouldn't we ban motor vehicles as well? Aren't those who have cars damaging the environment and affecting society as a whole, just as smokers affect society and non-smokers?
Osvaldo, Maputo, Mozambique
As a non-smoker I love the idea of a smoke free pub but am getting worried at the movement to remove personal responsibility, freedom of choice and nannying. I feel that a better option would be to allow a proportion of licensed establishments to apply for a smoking license, thus allowing people the choice.
Steve, Evesham, UK
Yes, a smoking ban can only be a good thing for the health of society as a whole. Enforcement of the Irish smoking ban is being ensured by the majority who do not smoke, and adherence to the ban has been exceptional in Ireland. It should be similarly welcomed in Scotland.
Niall, Tampere, Finland
Giving everyone free speech and free will is all very well until you factor cigarettes into the equation. As an asthmatic non-smoker, it seems unfair that I should not be able to frequent bars, clubs and pubs because of the damage to my health caused by other people. Here in parts of Colorado, bars and clubs have banned smoking and it is wonderful. If you want to smoke, you go outside. Simple.
Hilary Davies, Colorado, USA
I would welcome a ban on smoking in public places here. I do not smoke, and every time I set foot in a casino invariably some smoker blows out a massive cloud of smoke just as I walk past, which does wonders for my asthma. Unlike drinking, gambling and other such vices, the adverse health effects of smoking impact other people too.
Jen, Las Vegas, USA (ex-pat)
All the English pubs bordering Scotland will see their custom rocket. The same will happen in places such as Chester, Warrington, and Manchester, when Liverpool imposes a smoking ban. Here in Birmingham, a city centre bar introduced a ban, one month later it was lifted because takings were down 40%. I am sick and tired of Ireland being used as a bench mark for this debate. As a regular visitor to Ireland, take if from me, their once vibrant pubs are half empty at the weekend and are deserted midweek.
James C, Birmingham
All I can say is I play in a band and we play in pubs. I don't smoke. The majority of punters in the pub smoke heavily throughout the evening. When I get home I take all my clothes and wash them. I have a bath and scrub with soap. I have to wash my hair about three times on average to get rid of the smell. The next day if I breathe deeply I can still taste the nicotine. I repeat this three times a week. Smokers in general are selfish individuals who have no idea the damage they do.
Jim McAuley, Glasgow, Scotland
There are numerous smoking bans in the U.S. - cities and communities have banned smoking in many public places including restaurants, bars, sports stadiums and arenas, public buildings, etc. The Federal government has a ban on smoking in all Federal buildings. A large number of people go outside to smoke - in all kinds of weather. Many additional cities and communities are considering such bans. I think smoking bans are good in many places - but I think that banning all smoking in bars is too much.
Dave Woods, Cleveland, USA
A local main road pub near to our home has gone totally smoke free. The motto being, 'a pub with atmosphere, not smoke'. The pub has seen an incredible increase in popularity. You only have to go there to appreciate the growing demand there is for smoke free pubs.
Hywel Griffiths, Gloucester, UK
Quite a few people seem to start smoking 'socially', i.e. when they go out for a drink, but then gradually become addicted. If people can't smoke in pubs, then maybe it will reduce the number of people starting to smoke in the first place.
I'd trade a ban on smoking in pubs for a ban on children in pubs. They're infinitely more annoying than smoke, and, no, I am not a smoker.
Wil, West Midlands, England
Excellent news! I only hope that the National Assembly of Wales follow the Scottish example.
Having lived in Ireland for a couple of years now, I was able to see the smoking ban come into place here. Even weeks before the ban came in, people were saying it would never work and were adamant that they would oppose the ban and carry on smoking in public areas. When the ban eventually came in, after many delays, people instantly stopped smoking in public areas, and the ban was deemed a success. Being a non smoker it is wonderful being able to go to pubs without the smell and the bad throat afterwards. However, there has been a downside. According to many figures and public places like pubs, the tourist industry has taken a massive blow, with many visitors being put off by not being able to smoke while on holiday. A lot of small tourist businesses haven't survived this year.
As a Norwegian smoker who has had to suffer this breach of civil rights recently in Norway, I can only hope that the UK does not follow our example. Now I have to chew little tobacco bags when I drink in bars. I do save money though, as I don't go out so much and a half litre of beer costs a small fortune in Norway. Times 5 and your wages are gone.
Morten Inderdal, Trondheim, Norway
I am not in favour of a total ban, as this would hurt smaller out-of-town pubs and restaurants than it would hurt larger pub and restaurant chains operating in city centres. The net effect of the ban in Ireland has been almost zero because loss of trade in these smaller out-of-town businesses has been fully offset by the gain in business by big, inner-city pub chains. Also, my worry is as soon as this problem is solved, the law will then start to tackle other areas, gradually bringing in more and more legislation to try and curb unhealthy habits, and to restrict people's lifestyles immensely over the coming decades. Whatever happened to a free society?
Nathan James, Liverpool
An important point that is missed here, is that bars and restaurants are not public places at all - they are private establishments into which customers are invited as guests. I ask guests in my home to go outside to smoke; others are content to allow their guests to smoke inside. I would not welcome the Government dictating that decision. It is the same with bars.
Mark, London, England
I expect a tax rebate if I can no longer smoke in public!
The childish comments from some smokers threatening to boycott these pubs if they can't smoke there, hence "cutting their profits" is about on the same level as the idea that the fiscal policy would collapse if smoking were banned - it's sheer desperation. At the moment, I rarely go in pubs because of all the smoke. If there were a ban here in Germany, I would probably go out to eat more. I'd guess many people feel the same. So much for lost business.
Darryl LeCount, Paderborn, Germany
I'm a non smoker, but I'm against this ridiculous idea. This is yet another example of the eradication of free will and freedom of thought in this country, all principles democracies are supposed to promote. I don't agree with smoking, but I respect someone else's democratic right to do so over a beer. If you don't like it, don't go to the pub because that is your freedom of choice. It won't be long until the ban on perfume being thought up in America is on the cards here. Hogwash.
Tim, Manchester, UK
I think people should be able to smoke when and where they please - as long as they do it inside a diving suit where they won't poison anyone else with their toxic smoke!
Surely it's possible to allow pubs to have a snug where smoking is allowed? I'd be more than happy to take empties to the bar so staff wouldn't have to come in.
I'm very grateful to the Irish for banning smoking in pubs. I travel to Dublin regularly and spend most of my free nights in one pub or another. However, most of the people are outside smoking. So for a bit of craic I go outside and chit chat with the smokers. This habit has led me to take up smoking cigars which I enjoy enormously.
Mark Stretch, Utrecht, Holland
If smoking is banned outright then many places will suffer a loss of trade, as people buy tins/ bottles and head for their living rooms. Establishments such as pubs, clubs and restaurants should have a choice. Efficient air conditioning / filtering should be made mandatory if they want to allow smoking and clear signs put up at all entrances saying that it is a smoking establishment. This then gives people a clear choice.
Phil, London, UK
Most pubs used to have a "smoke room" which was the only room that people were allowed to smoke in. If pubs re-introduced this idea then it would steer a nice compromise between an outright ban and the current, often very smoky, situation.
Steve, Cheltenham, UK
I suppose it depends upon what is meant by public places? If it includes licensed public houses (pubs) then I believe it should be left to the publican's discretion, he/she knows his trade and his customers best. The British pub is a unique institution and should be exempt from an outright ban.
Terence H. Coleman, Thornton Heath
For people supporting the ban on the grounds that they want to go out for a night and not come home with your clothes and hair stinking of cigarette smoke, going out drinking beers among people drinking beers make you smell beer and sweat more than cigarette. How many times did I have to wrestle to reach the bar, order beers, have beers spilled on me and spill beers on others.
Roger, Nottingham, UK
How about banning politicians and other assorted busy-bodies and leaving the rest of us to get on with our lives?
Paul Jemetta, London
Pubs and restaurants should be able to opt in or out of smoking, thus allowing people to choose whether they go into and eat at a pub/restaurant..! My own preference would be that I wouldn't eat anywhere that allowed smoking, thus making it my choice rather than the law...
Paul Miller, Stafford, UK
Many years ago, pubs had smoking rooms. Perhaps we should look to the past again for insight into common sense.
Christopher Teague, Wales
Why not bring back the "snug". Those who want to smoke and those who are employed who are smokers can then go the "snug".
E. Sloan, England
As a smoker who's just come back from a week in Ireland, I'd whole-heartedly approve of the ban. Whilst I was lucky with the weather, many of the pubs had some facility for smokers to smoke outdoors, some of which included patio heaters etc. A comment from a fellow smoker outside a hotel was that "you only ever smoke half a cigarette now" - got to be better for the health!
Why should I have my health put at risk because of someone else's addiction? The sooner it is banned the better.
Julie, Edinburgh, Scotland
Freedom of choice doesn't come into it, smokers don't have a choice, they have an addiction. As a non-smoking drinker I'm fed up with passive smoking and going home smelling like an ashtray. Smokers are just going to have to get used to the fact that society's attitude to smoking is changing, a ban will come eventually and they're just going to have to lump it.
Alan Wilson, Edinburgh
I live in Ottawa where we have an anti-smoking ban in place. It has been there for coupe of years. As ex-smoker I can tell you that it is nice when we can go out to public places and breath fresh air. Now having said that I do think that bars should have kept their option since many pubs here went out of business or had to change to restaurants to accommodate different clientele. I think that there should be middle ground. Public places, restaurants, trains and so on should be smoke free but bars, pubs where people go out in the night hours to get drunk but not healthy should have the option to choose.
Anna, Ottawa, Canada
I sympathise with all the non-smokers who don't wish to be forced to breathe second hand smoke, but by the same token I don't want to be attacked by an aggressive drunk when I'm on a night out, so will drinking in public places also be banned?
Ian, Stoke on Trent, England
Instead of banning smoking in pubs and other public places, the government should be encouraging choice. There are enough smokers, anti-smokers and people who don't much care one way or the other to support smoking AND non-smoking venues across the country. Let the market decide, I say. Choice for all.
Steve, Leeds, UK
No, I don't believe smoking should be banned in public places. Isn't this a form of discrimination? As far as I'm aware tobacco is not yet a controlled substance. What constitutes a "public place"? In pubs? On the street? In your car? Will this drive smoking underground resulting in the rise of private smoking clubs, giving us a taste of the "speak easies" the US had during prohibition? So the anti-smoking lobbies may well get what they want but in the end, they may not like what they get. As more and more people give up smoking, the government collects less tax from it. This shortfall must be collected elsewhere, i.e. out of the pockets of non-smokers.
A ban on smoking in public places is inevitable. My main concern is what is defined as a public place. Anywhere food is involved must be included. I have some reservations on a blanket ban in pubs and bars but more effort must be made to provide proper no smoking areas and better ventilation where it is allowed.
Martin Eastwood, Basingstoke, UK
As a smoker who would like to give up, I welcome the ban. Anything, which makes it harder for me to smoke is a good idea. As for fellow smokers who want the right to smoke, our 'rights' cause sickness and distress to others so it's not as simple as 'your rights'.
Kenneth, Fife, Scotland
I strongly support the ban for smoking in all public places. Having spent time in New York and Ireland it is clear that it works and it is a pleasure to get home and not have your hair, body and clothing smell of smoke. If people chose to smoke then that is their choice but it shouldn't be inflicted on others and we as non-smokers should have the choice to have a drink in a clean atmosphere. At the end of the day for this Government, it is all about money and keeping the tobacco companies happy. It is about time that they started to think of the health of the nation and the money that will be saved in the long run in relation to the NHS etc.
Ali Young, London
I am a smoker, enjoy nights out and because I am a smoker pay more tax than non-smokers. Why should I be shoved onto the street to enjoy a cigarette?
Yes please ban it. It would be nice to be able to go out for a night and not come home with your clothes and hair stinking of cigarette smoke. I'm all for the rights of smokers to smoke, but I think the rights of everyone else to clean air is a higher priority.
John, Glasgow, Scotland
It's being banned in Ireland for a couple of months now and it's great to go to the pub and not have the smell of smoke on your clothes when you come home. At this stage even the smokers are beginning to agree.
Brendan Keegan, Dublin, Ireland
Whatever happened to freedom of choice in this country? It's ok to gamble and drink all night but not ok to smoke in a pub?
Jason, Dudley, England
In response to Jason in Dudley. Gambling and drinking affect the person doing it, whilst smoking affects the health of those all around. It is completely different. However, I am all for having some pubs which allow smoking and some pubs which do not. That way, we all have a choice.
Ban smoking in restaurants. Whilst you're there, ban alcohol as that is dangerous. Ban high fat content in food, ban E numbers, ban petrol so we can't go out in the first place. Sick to death of this nanny state.
Paul Gatsby, Newcastle, UK