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Last Updated: Monday, 24 January, 2005, 02:21 GMT
Smoking bill discussed in Lords
Liverpool is the first city in the UK to ban smoking
The council hopes the law will be passed by next year
A private bill to make Liverpool the first smoke-free city in the UK will get its first reading in the House of Lords on Monday.

The city council voted to ban smoking in restaurants, pubs, shops, offices and enclosed workplaces in October.

The Local Act of Parliament must be debated in the House of Lords, and a second reading is due in March.

If the bill progresses it could be law by next year, unless it is superseded by new government anti-smoking laws.

The debate must be taken to the highest possible level
Andy Hull, SmokeFree Liverpool

Andy Hull, chairman of SmokeFree Liverpool, said: "This really is a vital issue for the city and the rest of the country, and we think that the debate must be taken to the highest possible level.

"SmokeFree Liverpool does not believe that it can be acceptable for a worker in a non-food pub or private members club to suffer the damaging effects of second-hand tobacco smoke.

"In Liverpool, people frequently do not have a choice about where they work, and employees in exempted premises would therefore be exposed [to second hand tobacco smoke] against their will and continue to suffer the same health inequalities."

Mr Hull has written to health secretary John Reid, calling for a meeting to discuss the Liverpool Bill on workplace smoking restrictions.

Liverpool City Council says it will impose a fine of 1,000 on anyone breaching the proposed law.

Councillor Richard Oglethorpe, the city council's executive member for green issues, has said Liverpool is the "lung cancer capital of the United Kingdom".

"It's not a title we're proud of, it's one we want to get rid of," he said.

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