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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 March 2006, 15:48 GMT 16:48 UK
Health minister hails smoke ban
Two women smoking outside a pub in Edinburgh
Two women smoke outside a pub in Edinburgh following the ban
Health Minister Andy Kerr has said he expects the implementation of Scotland's smoking ban to run smoothly.

Speaking at a pub in East Kilbride, Mr Kerr said the new law would be "sensibly" enforced in the early days but stressed it must be obeyed.

The ban on smoking in all public areas, including bars and restaurants, came into force on Sunday at 0600 BST.

Its impact will be watched closely in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, where bans have also been approved.

Mr Kerr said: "Myself and the first minister have both said that it's about sensible enforcement and making sure we work with the grain of the Scottish population.

"Just like the enforcement of other laws, in the early days it's done in a sensible way.

Health Minister Andy Kerr
We're a law-abiding nation and if it can happen in New York, I think it can happen in East Kilbride and Scotland as a whole
Andy Kerr
Health Minister

"But I have to say that at the end of the day, it is the law of the land and it must be obeyed."

The minister said he did not envisage any problems with enforcement.

"The licensees are used to dealing with customers who present difficulties when they've had one too many drinks, so when that happens with regards to smoking I'm sure they're confident enough to deal with it," he said.

"But we're a law-abiding nation. If it can happen in New York, I think it can happen in East Kilbride and Scotland as a whole.

"Look at the seatbelt legislation, that became the norm and I think this will be the same in due course."

'Bit of bravado'

Mr Kerr dismissed the findings of a BBC Five Live poll, which suggested that more than a fifth of smokers questioned in Scotland planned to flout the ban.

He said: "I think that's a result of a bit of bravado in the early days and people not really understanding the ban.

"In Ireland there's over 90% compliance so my view is that it'll work well here as well."

BBC Radio's Five Live programme discovered that about 21% of smokers surveyed in Scotland planned to ignore the ban.

Smoking area outside the Oran Mor bar in Glasgow
Smoking areas are being erected outside bars

A total of 1,000 adults throughout the country were questioned by researchers earlier this month.

Of the non-smokers involved in the survey, 37% said they would be more likely to visit pubs and restaurants once the smoking ban was in place.

Responding to the poll, First Minister Jack McConnell said: "We have to be realistic about this. There are going to be people who will be inconvenienced by the ban.

"I think that while we will see some people resisting over the early days of the ban, the vast majority of Scots don't smoke.

The ban will give a warm glow to those who enjoy telling others what to do
Neil Rafferty
Pro-smoking group Forest

"The vast majority of Scots who do smoke want to give up."

Mr McConnell said this was Scotland's "largest single step to improve its health for generations" and a day of pride for the nation.

Dr Peter Terry, chairman of BMA Scotland, said the day would be remembered as "the time Scotland took a bold and politically courageous step".

However, the smokers' lobby group Forest condemned the Scottish Executive, accusing ministers of misleading the public over the health impact and economic costs of the ban.

The group's Scottish spokesman Neil Rafferty said: "The ban will do nothing to improve the health of the nation, but it will give a warm glow to those who enjoy telling others what to do.

Smoking in an enclosed public place - 50 fine
Operators of premises face fines of 200 for allowing others to smoke or failing to display warnings
Enforced by environmental health officers
No smoking signs will carry a named person to whom a complaint can be made
Complaints can also be logged by calling 0845 130 7250
Ban covers most indoor places and workplaces, not homes
Smoking allowed in shelters which comply with regulations

"The anti-smoking fanatics will use the ban to victimise and stigmatise smokers even further."

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association, which had called for a partial ban, fears 140 pubs could close and 2,500 jobs may be lost.

Exemptions from the ban include designated rooms in some workplaces, including in adult care homes, hospices, offshore installations and submarines.

Smoking will also be allowed in police detention or interview rooms and in designated hotel bedrooms.

Almost 300 business across Scotland have lodged planning applications this year alone for shelters, canopies or beer gardens to make last-minute alterations in the run-up to the ban.

Individuals who flout the legislation face a fixed penalty of 50.

The manager or person in control of any no-smoking premises can be fined a fixed penalty of 200 for either allowing others to smoke there, or failing to display warning notices.

Refusal or failure to pay the fine may result in prosecution and a fine of up to 2,500.

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