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Last Updated: Monday, 26 March 2007, 05:18 GMT 06:18 UK
Atmosphere 'proves worth' of ban
The ban on smoking in enclosed public places came into effect on the morning of Sunday 26 March, 2006.

In a series of articles from interested parties supporting and opposed to the ban, tobacco control group Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) Scotland gives its view one year on.

Chief executive Maureen Moore says the ban has already shown tangible health benefits.

Scotland's smoke-free legislation was introduced on 26 March last year, making Scotland the first part of the UK to end smoking in most enclosed public places.

Cutting out passive smoking has changed social occassions

Wales, Northern Ireland and England will introduce similar legislation this year.

While we will have to wait for the full assessment of the impacts - NHS Health Scotland together with Information Services Division Scotland and the Scottish Executive are co-ordinating a comprehensive research programme into a wide range of outcomes of the legislation - there is already no doubt that it has been tremendously successful.

This legislation was introduced to remove a preventable harmful substance, second-hand smoke.

Early research demonstrates an 86% reduction in exposure to second-hand smoke (SHS) for bar workers across Scotland.

The air quality in most Scottish bars is now comparable with average outdoor air quality.

A study published in JAMA found a significant improvement in respiratory symptoms and lung function amongst 77 bar workers in Tayside between February and June 2006, and a Cancer Research UK survey published in August found that 92% of Scottish bar staff said their workplaces were healthier post legislation and 78% believed they would experience long-term health benefits.

Maureen Moore
Ash Scotland is looking to the future and to further reducing the harm caused by tobacco

The experience of smoke-free public places has motivated a number of smokers to come forward and seek help and advice to quit smoking.

Demand for NHS smoking cessation services rose significantly in the three months leading up to implementation, with some services reporting a doubling in client numbers.

Overall, compliance has been excellent - never less than 95% in the first nine months, despite enforcement officers targeting reported breaches.

Most people have welcomed and willingly complied with legislation and the enforcement officers worked hard to educate and support people in complying.

Only a few dissonant notes have been raised.

Some narrow sectors of the business community have raised concerns about economic impacts on their businesses.

Sign in Wales
Wales is the nest part of the UK to bring in a ban

Concerns have been raised that people may smoke more at home, increasing the exposure of children to second-hand smoke.

This last point has not been borne out in countries that have introduced smoke-free legislation ahead of us such as Ireland and New Zealand, where smokers say they have introduced more restrictions on smoking at home after legislation.

By September, we should have robust findings from Scotland's research programme that will give us a full picture of the actual impacts of implementing legislation here.

Meantime, Ash Scotland is looking to the future and to further reducing the harm caused by tobacco in Scotland.

Amongst other measures, we are calling for the purchase age of tobacco to be raised from 16 to 18, backed by effective enforcement measures, and for an end to the visibility of tobacco at retail outlets, replacing the power gantries with a simple brand and price list.

Ash Scotland will continue to campaign to prevent future generations from addiction to tobacco.

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