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Last Updated: Friday, 21 July 2006, 09:34 GMT 10:34 UK
£50 fines under new smoking ban
On-the-spot fines will be introduced for those flouting the ban
Smokers lighting up at work, a pub or cafe could face on-the-spot £50 fines from next summer, under rules for the smoking ban in public places in Wales.

Owners of premises also face £2,500 fines under the draft regulations, which were published on Friday.

Health Minister Dr Brian Gibbons has launched a consultation and website.

He said the Welsh assembly government was not trying to victimise smokers but to ensure people who want a smoke-free environment were entitled to one.

The consultation covers issues such as the definition of "enclosed," spaces how the ban will be policed and requirements for signs advertising the ban.

A website has also been launched.

Assembly members first voted in favour of a smoking ban in 2003 and it is set to be introduced in summer 2007.

Surely we should be looking at the bigger picture and be asking why does anyone need cigarettes? They should be banned altogether

Under the ban all pubs, clubs, cafes and workplaces - any public space with a roof over it - will become no-smoking areas.

According to the regulations a roof includes any type of awning or canvas - so converting a covered beer garden to a smoking room may not be an option for many pub landlords.

Smokers breaking the ban would face a £50 on-the-spot fine - while the owner of the premises would have to pay £2,500.

Dr Gibbons said: "I've been to Ireland and Scotland and it seems to 'knees up' all around. When you go to the pubs, not only are the non-smokers happy but one of things that has surprised me is that even the smokers welcome it.

"It certainly should not be seen as an attack on smokers - it's something maybe to help them to give up the habit - we know 80 or 90% want to."

When asked why there was a need for a ban, if businesses were adopting non-smoking policies voluntarily, Dr Gibbons said: "I don't think there's any evidence that that works. Only the most progressive and socially-aware will comply. A significant amount won't."

Local council officers will enforce the ban from summer 2007
Places affected include restaurants, pubs, shops, cinemas, shopping centres, leisure centres, enclosed workplaces, public transport.
Smokers could face £50 fine
Owners of premises could face £2,500 fine
Private premises such as rugby and golf clubs are affected
Hotels and B&Bs can designate smoking rooms
Source: smokingbanwales.co.uk

He added: "My worry would be if we did not have the universal ban, then we would not have a level playing field between establishments."

The launch was at the Java Bean café in Glynneath, which has been non-smoking since it opened three and a half years ago.

Joint café manager Pauline Morgan said: "It's something we feel is important, it's our little bit towards improving the well-being of our community."

Helen Dallow, landlady of the Belle Vue pub in Merthyr Tydfil, said she accepted the ban and plans to create a smokers' garden.

She said her biggest concern was policing it.

"Some customers won't take kindly to being told they won't be able to smoke, and that I think is a major worry." she said.

Kieron Walker, from Merthyr Tydfil, a smoker for over 30 years, said he was against the ban "totally, 100%".

"Everybody's got the right to smoke if they want to, " he said.

'Stub it out'

But Leanne Jones, who has smoked for eight years, supports the ban, saying it may get her motivated to quit.

"It will be hard, but it is something you're just going to have to get used to," she said.

Smoking-related illnesses like heart disease and lung cancer are among Wales's biggest killers, causing 6,000 premature deaths each year.

Chief medical officer, Dr Tony Jewell, said: "The damaging health effects of second-hand smoke in enclosed public places cannot be underestimated and the time has come to stub it out once and for all."

Singers Bryn Terfel and Shirley Bassey, cyclist Nicole Cooke and Welsh TV presenter Gabby Logan have posted messages of support on the smoking ban website.

"I suppose everyone knows it's going to be banned"

"I disagree - everybody's got a right to smoke."

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