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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 November 2005, 21:01 GMT
Submarines exempt from smoke ban
HMS Splendid on the Clyde
Submarines are set to be exempt from the workplace smoking ban
Scotland's workplace smoking ban will not apply to submarines at sea, the Scottish Executive has revealed.

Workers are set to be allowed to light up in designated smoking rooms on Navy subs and refuelling vessels following a request from the Ministry of Defence.

Deputy Health Minister Lewis Macdonald said university laboratories examining tobacco products may also receive a specific exemption.

Scotland's public smoking ban is due to come into force next March.

Mr Macdonald was giving evidence to Holyrood's health committee about which public places would escape the ban through exemptions, to be published in regulations next month.

A submarine at sea is quite a difficult place to go on deck for a sly puff
Lewis Macdonald
Deputy health minister

Ministers have proposed exempting adult care homes and hospices, prison and police cells and interview rooms, designated rooms in offshore oil and gas platforms and designated hotel bedrooms.

The deputy health minister denied the MoD was being treated as a special case and said it was because of the nature of the vessels.

"In the same way as for offshore oil and gas installations, we do not want to prohibit people from smoking indoors if it creates a risk that they will smoke far more hazardously out of doors," he said.

"Likewise a submarine at sea is quite a difficult place to go on deck for a sly puff - we would want to avoid that."

Committee convener Roseanna Cunningham, who said she envisaged "smoke periscopes", then asked Mr Macdonald how the workplace ban would affect corridors connecting churches with the homes of ministers or priests.

'Fly fags'

She suggested this was often where the vestments were put on before services, adding: "Some denominations leave their clerics little to enjoy except the occasional cigarette."

Mr Macdonald said if the corridor or connecting room was accessible to people other than those living in the residence it would be covered by the ban.

"So no more fly fags before the service starts?" Ms Cunningham asked.

Mr Macdonald replied: "It will have to be in the kitchen."


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