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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 May 2004, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
Smoking ban first for Wales
smokey pub
Pressure is growing for a widespread ban
Denbighshire has become the first local authority in Wales to introduce a blanket ban on smoking.

On Tuesday, Denbighshire councillors voted to implement a landmark ban, which could lead to staff caught smoking during their working day facing disciplinary action.

For the past three years the county council has been looking at ways to extend the ban which already prohibits smoking inside offices.

The ban is expected to be introduced by 1 September.

Under the new scheme smoking will be banned on all council property - even outside buildings - and in local authority vehicles.

That means workers will have to clock off and officially leave work to have a cigarette.

Chief executive Alan Evans said the ban will have a considerable effect on staff.

It is almost a form of 'ethically-cleansing' the workforce
Simon Clark, pro-smoking lobby
"Staff will be expected to clock off if they want to go for a cigarette," he said.

Mr Evans said concerns had been raised because staff were taking time out for a cigarette, and there were feelings that this was unfair on non-smokers.

The council has consulted staff and says there appears to be a 50-50 split on the issue.

Although unions seem to have given the council their support, other organisations describe it as dangerous territory.

Simon Clark, director of Forest, the pro-smoking lobby group, was outraged at the proposals.

"It is almost a form of 'ethically-cleansing' the workforce," he said.

'None of their business'

"What is wrong with a park keeper, for goodness sake, having the occasional cigarette while he is doing his job in the open air?

"Really it is his business, and it has got nothing to do with local politicians or bureaucrats."

The UK government has come under increasing pressure to follow Ireland's lead and introduce a smoking ban across the UK.

Owners of Irish pubs and restaurants face fines of up to 3,000 euros (2,000) if customers are caught smoking after the habit was outlawed in March.

But Health Minister Lord Warner said the UK government has no plans to ban smoking in enclosed public places.




SEE ALSO
The hunt for the pro-smokers
10 Mar 04 |  Magazine

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