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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 April, 2004, 13:27 GMT 14:27 UK
Workplace smoke ban wins support
No smoking at the bar sign
Pressure groups want to see a smoking ban in all workplaces
Medical experts and anti-smoking campaigners have welcomed a report which says a ban on smoking in all workplaces would save lives.

Ash Scotland and the BMA Scotland said the conclusions of chief medical officer Dr Mac Armstrong sent out a positive and clear message.

Maureen Moore, from Ash, said employers should realise it was everyone's right to work in a smoke-free environment.

The BMA's Dr John Garner said ministers should introduce a public smoking ban.

Dr Armstrong's annual report said if smoking in all workplaces in Glasgow was banned, it could mean 1,000 fewer deaths each year.

He also warned of the damage to which non-smokers were exposed as they worked in smoky atmospheres.

'Speed up process'

Glasgow City Council also welcomed the report and called on the executive to speed up its consultation on smoking curbs.

Its deputy leader, Jim Coleman, said it was quite clear that the evidence about the dangers of smoking was overwhelming.

He added: "The executive is carrying out a consultation on this subject and in the light of what the chief medical officer said I would ask them to accelerate that process.

The executive must act on this evidence and bring forward legislation to create smoke-free public places in Scotland
Dr John Garner
BMA Scotland
"My own view is that each local authority should be given discretionary powers to adopt a smoking ban. The sooner the better if we are to prevent a further 1,000 deaths across the city."

But the Scottish Conservative's health spokesman David Davidson said that while it was right to highlight the health dangers that smoking causes, it was important not to impose "blanket bans".

He said: "We must encourage voluntary and educational methods that either create smoke free areas or, preferably, results in fewer and fewer people smoking in the first place."

Maureen Moore, of Ash Scotland, said that a ban on smoking would send out a strong message to young people who would see "it was not accepted among adults".

"This is not about users, it's about the product. If I have a drink and drive a car, I'm not allowed to do that because I might harm someone," she declared.

'Passive smoking kills'

"We don't allow asbestos in the workplace, so if we've got another product with carcinogens harming workers' health then that should be banned too.

"People don't have any choice about going to work, they've got to earn a living, but surely employers must recognise it's our right to breathe clean air."

Dr Garner said that one-third of the adult population of Scotland smoked, which was higher than the UK average and was a matter that "must be addressed urgently".

"Smoking remains the biggest single cause of preventable death in Scotland. Assertive leadership is required to reduce the number of Scots lost to tobacco.

"Just as smoking kills, passive smoking kills," he said.

Targets not met

"For more than five years, the Scottish Executive has hidden behind the voluntary charter on smoke-free public places.

"This strategy has failed to protect the public from the harmful effects of second-hand smoking.

"A review of the charter published last year showed that targets had not been met, indeed it failed to find a single smoke-free Scottish pub. Most worryingly, less than half of all premises surveyed had even heard of the charter.

"The executive must act on this evidence and bring forward legislation to create smoke-free public places in Scotland."

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