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Last Updated: Monday, 20 November 2006, 06:59 GMT
Smoking ban letters are sent out
Smoking in a bar in France
Some businesses have already adopted non-smoking policies
Businesses and organisations across Wales are being sent information about how the forthcoming smoking ban will affect them.

The ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces in Wales comes into force on 2 April 2007.

A similar law is due to be introduced in England next summer.

Health Minister Dr Brian Gibbons said he was delighted that many hotels and bars had already voluntarily introduced bans on lighting up.

Up to 150,000 businesses and organisations will receive the letters from the assembly government.

Dr Gibbons said the business case for banning smoking was gaining ground and those introducing the bans were finding "positive impacts not only on their profit margins but also the health of their staff and customers alike".

The assembly government says 400 people in Wales die unnecessarily each year from the effects of inhaling second-hand smoke.

Difficult decision

The smoking ban is being introduced to reduce people's exposure to second-hand smoke, and workers within the hospitality industry, which is traditionally associated with smoking and smoky atmospheres, should be among the key beneficiaries.

It will mean no lighting up at work, in pubs or clubs, although there will be some exemptions, such as hotel rooms.

Martin Morgan, owner of Morgans Hotel in Swansea and The Cawdor in Llandeilo, both non-smoking, said they thought "long and hard" about taking that approach.

He said when Morgans opened four years ago there were no other non-smoking establishment in Swansea, so it was a difficult decision to make.

"At that point we had no idea of the impact on the business that the decision would make, but, it was something that we felt really strongly about, and when we decided to take that unique decision in Swansea, we held our breath and waited for the response," he said.

Martin Morgan, owner of Morgans Hotel, Swansea.
One hotelier says customers are happy to find they are smoke free

Staff have responded positively because it ensures they work in a clean environment, without any risk to their health, said Mr Morgan, and guests were "very happy to discover we are smoke free".

Stephen Leeke, managing director of The Vale Hotel Golf and Spa Resort in the Vale of Glamorgan, said they were looking forward to the introduction of the full smoking ban.

He said: "As the training ground for both Welsh football and rugby squads, we are mindful of the need to keep our sporting stars in peak performance."

"Offering a convivial, smoke-free atmosphere can only add to this general feeling of wellbeing."

Wales is following the Republic of Ireland, Norway, New Zealand and Scotland in banning smoking in public.

A similar law is due to be introduced in England next summer.

France is to ban smoking from next February but bars, restaurants and nightclubs will have a reprieve until January 2008.

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