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Last Updated: Friday, 17 December, 2004, 15:05 GMT
Minister unveils smoke ban bill
Pub sign
The bill would come into effect in 2006
Ministers have published the bill which would outlaw smoking in Scotland's pubs, clubs and restaurants.

Health Minister Andy Kerr said the Smoking, Health and Social Care Bill was "the most important piece of public health legislation in a generation".

It would bring in a ban on smoking in enclosed public places, with fines for those who flout the law.

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association has accused ministers of suppressing figures and misleading the public.

Mr Kerr announced the full details of the bill, which is due to come into effect by the spring of 2006, on Friday.

It states that the legislation would cover wholly enclosed premises to which the public has access.

The regulations would apply in premises which are being used as a place of work, being used by and for the purposes of a club or other unincorporated association, or being used wholly or mainly for the provision of education, health or care services.

The bill would also:

  • Create an offence of permitting others to smoke in no-smoking premises

  • Create an offence of smoking in no-smoking premises

  • Create an offence of failing to display warning notices in no-smoking premises

  • Set out the powers of enforcement officers to enter no-smoking premises

  • Create an offence of failing to give a name and address when asked to by an enforcement officer.

Pub licensees and others who fail to enforce the law could face fines of up to 2,500.

Persistent smokers who defy a ban could be fined up to 1,000.

Mr Kerr insisted that any exclusions from the ban would only be granted on "humanitarian grounds".

Improvement of public health cannot and will not stop at the door of the public house
Andy Kerr
Health Minister
Ministers will be advised on the implementation of smoke-free areas by the National Smoke Free Areas Implementation Group.

There will also be an international marketing campaign to promote Scotland as "a changing and healthy country".

Speaking at the publication of the bill, Mr Kerr said: "Every day 35 Scots die before their time because of smoking-related diseases. This is our 35-a-day habit and we have got to kick it.

"The case for reducing smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke to improve health is indisputable.

"This is the most important piece of public health legislation in a generation and we will deliver for the sake of future generations who'll be able to breathe clean air where ever they go."

Licensed premises

He said that 70% of Scots do not smoke and 70% of those who do smoke want to give up.

And he added: "This will be a comprehensive ban that will cover all enclosed public places, including all licensed premises.

"Improvement of public health cannot and will not stop at the door of the public house."

No smoking signs
The licensed trade has opposed the proposals
A public information website has also been launched to explain the detail of the proposals.

However, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association has warned that the move would "decimate" the industry and lead to 30,000 job losses.

Chief executive Paul Waterson said: "The executive's own consultation was deliberately engineered to give the result they wanted.

"Not only did it fail to ask the question 'Do you want to see a ban on smoking in pubs?' but it failed to mention pubs at all.

"Many people will have assumed it only applied to offices, libraries, civic buildings, public transport and so on."

'Slap in the face'

President Alastair Don pledged to seek a legal challenge to the ban.

"There is very little evidence, as far as we're concerned, that proves that passive smoking is in fact bad for you," he added.

Tim Lord, chief executive of the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association, said the bill was "an extraordinary slap in the face" for those who opposed the ban.

This legislation will bring about the biggest sea change in Scotland's public health for decades
James Kennedy
RCN Scotland
However, Scottish National Party MSP Stewart Maxwell urged ministers to "stick to their guns".

"Banning smoking in public places will have a hugely positive impact on the lives of non-smokers, as they will no longer be forced to breathe second-hand smoke and it could help the thousands of people who want to stop smoking finally kick the habit," he said.

James Kennedy, director of RCN Scotland, said the executive had taken a "bold step".

"This legislation will bring about the biggest sea change in Scotland's public health for decades," he said.

"We all need protection for second-hand smoke and the executive should be applauded for putting the health of the nation first by seeking to introduce a comprehensive ban."

Pass amendments

Tory MSP Brian Monteith accused the executive of "running away" from the debate on banning smoking.

"Rather than bring forward a bill that outlines how a total ban will be applied, the proposals leave a great deal of the detail to future regulations which will probably not be seen until after the draconian proposals are passed.

"This is completely unacceptable and is nothing more than cowardice by the ministers who must fear that reasonable MSPs will pass amendments to allow smoking exemptions in specified areas."

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Mike Rumbles said it was the first major party in Scotland to support a ban on smoking in enclosed public places.

"We did this because we are the party that put health promotion at the heart of the government health agenda in Scotland and we are delivering a radical change to improve the health of the nation," he said.

Healthy reaction

The Scottish NHS Confederation, the body that represents Scotland's NHS organisations, welcomed the publication of legislation on the ban.

Director Hilary Robertson said: "Given Scotland's high rates of smoking-related diseases, this is a vital measure to support continued reductions particularly in heart disease and cancer.

"We hope that the legislation will be accompanied by investment in NHS smoking cessation services as a cost-effective measure to support the many smokers who already want to give up and the many others who will take that decision in the light of the ban."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Why Scottish ministers backed the ban



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