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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 March 2006, 06:24 GMT
Ban challenge hotel bars smoking
By Mona McAlinden
BBC Scotland news website

Smoking ban sign
The hotel chain believes the ban goes too far
The hotel chain challenging aspects of Scotland's smoking ban has recently had a no-smoking policy introduced at its Dundee hotel, it has emerged.

The Swallow Hotels group owns more than 750 hotels and pubs across the UK.

It has launched a legal challenge to the ban coming in on 26 March, which it claims breaches human rights.

The group confirmed its Dundee site was made no-smoking on 1 February but said the decision was taken by that hotel's management and was not company policy.

Chairman Alan Bowes said that the company was not wholly opposed to the ban.

He said: "The London and Edinburgh Swallow group is not against the smoking ban and supports the need for a control on smoking in public places, but feel that the parameters of the act and regulations as they currently stand present some fundamental human rights issues.

The company is not sending out a contradictory message because the petition has never tried to stop the ban, it challenged certain aspects of the definition of controlled smoking areas
Swallow Group spokeswoman

"Personally, I also have some grave concerns over the impact on the levels of smoking in the home and the impact on our children's health."

The Swallow Hotel in Dundee has banned smoking in its bar and dining area, although smoking rooms have still been made available.

A spokeswoman said that despite the legal challenge, some hotels and bars across the chain had implemented a no-smoking policy.

She added: "It's up to individual hotels. Managers can choose how they operate their pub or hotel and what they feel is best for it.

Choice call

"The company is not sending out a contradictory message because the petition has never tried to stop the ban, it challenged certain aspects of the definition of controlled smoking areas.

"The group would like its outlets to have the option of having a regulated smoking area."

The Swallow Group, which also owns London and Edinburgh Inns, has presented a motion at the Court of Session in Edinburgh calling for a delay on the ban, which it hopes will be heard before the end of the week.

  • Meanwhile, a study has claimed that nearly half of smokers have said they will cut back on visits to pubs and restaurants once the ban comes into effect.

    The research showed that 45% of smokers questioned would visit their local pub or favourite restaurant less often.

    But 21% said the ban would make them more determined to give up.

    Of the 1,004 smokers and non-smokers surveyed for Niquitin, 72% thought Scotland would become a more pleasant place, while 17% said it would create a worse atmosphere.


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