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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 November, 2004, 18:47 GMT
Living in an anti-smoking climate
As Scotland faces up to a ban on smoking in public places, we find out about the impact of similar restrictions in other parts of the world.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

Smokers
Scenes like these are a thing of the past in Ireland
The BBC correspondent in Dublin, James Helm, said the introduction of a ban in the Republic of Ireland earlier this year had led to the spectacle of smoking punters huddled outside pubs.

There has been a mixed response to the change in the law amongst the licensed trade and the issue is still a matter of debate in Irish society.

He said: "One publican in the Portherhouse Bar, where Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell went to visit, serves a lot of food and those sorts of places have done okay out of the smoking ban.

"But others where it's predominantly a drinking establishment where people go to have a pint and used to have a cigarette with their pint say they're suffering, some down as much as 15% to 20%.

"Of course, now with the winter weather coming on, it's the first real test of the smoking ban. People having to go out in the wet and the cold for a cigarette now."

"The government all along has said it's a huge success with long-term public health benefits but some of the publicans agree to differ."

As for publicans' adherence to the new law, he said: "A lot of the evidence is by its very nature anecdotal but certainly in rural areas where it's perhaps a lot more difficult to enforce this kind of law there are a lot of stories of people being seen smoking and being caught as well."

"There have been some prosecutions of publicans in one or two places but it's very difficult to enforce.

"On the whole it's been enforced pretty well and adhered to pretty well but there have been some complaints from publicans who say they are simply suffering under it."

CALIFORNIA

Cigarette stubbed out
California started the clampdown 10 years ago
BBC Scotland contributor Maggie Shiels said California had been living with smoking bans for a decade.

"California was the first state to go state-wide with the ban. In January 1998 they extended the ban to all bars and restaurants, the first state in the nation to do such a thing.

"The reason they did it was simply because of health. In California they said that 43,000 people were dying as a result of smoking-related illnesses, that's one in five people.

"The cost to the health service was $15.8bn and in terms of productivity it was $5.7bn. That's $475 per California resident or $3,331 per smoker.

"In 10 years, the Department of Health says it has seen cigarette consumption declining by 60%, smoking declining by 27%, a reduction in lung and bronchus cancer rates, nearly six times less than the rest of the country."

Many smokers remarked that they now believed they smoked less.

"They also say there is fabulous counter-culture with their little groups huddling outside the bar and they see it as something private, having their own little group that they can all bond in.

"It is seen as a nasty, nasty habit here because so few people smoke. What's interesting is they are trying to extend a lot of these bans, like not allowing you to smoke on beaches because you get so many cigarette butts and rubbish there.

"There are further efforts like not allowing you to smoke in your car if there are children there because that affects the health of the child and also not smoking in public places like parks."

THE NETHERLANDS

Smoker
The Netherlands has introduced a public places ban
The BBC's correspondent in The Hague, Geraldine Coughlan, said the Netherlands had been adapting to a ban on smoking in public places which came into effect at the start of the year.

She said: "The hospitality sector has asked for an exemption and they've got until the end of this year to come up with some kind of proposals.

"The Netherlands has a really high number of smokers, more than 30%, that's very high in comparison with, for example, France and Belgium where 25% of people smoke. It hasn't really gone down that well.

"There's been a report that about 40% of firms are not adhering to the ban on smoking in the workplace. They are supposed to have designated areas where people can go to smoke and apparently nobody's respecting it. They are just lighting up in the workplace anyway.

"People are not allowed to smoke on trains, for instance, or on platforms but they are allowed to smoke in parts of stations where there is open air.

"People are respecting it in totally public places and there haven't been any reports of prosecutions or lots of fines."



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