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Last Updated: Monday, 2 April 2007, 12:15 GMT 13:15 UK
Q&A: The smoking ban in Wales
When will the ban come into force?
From 0600 BST on 2 April in Wales.

Where is smoking banned?
The new law covers most public premises, including restaurants, pubs, bars, shops, cinemas, shopping centres, leisure centres, sports stadiums, public buildings like hospitals, schools, libraries and council offices and other enclosed workplaces, public transport and work vehicles which could be used by more than one person. "Smoking rooms" in offices are also banned.

Where can you smoke?
Anywhere which is not counted as "enclosed" or "substantially enclosed" under the regulations. Hotels will be non-smoking but are able to designate one or more bedrooms where the guests can smoke.

Self-catering accommodation is not affected by the ban, but people can not smoke in communal areas like foyers, lifts or stairways in private flats.

In prisons, all indoor areas are smoke free, except for cells and rooms occupied solely by smokers.

And in theatres, there is no exception for actors on stage. "An exemption for performers would undermine the health message about the harm from exposure to second-hand smoke, and would appear unfair to the wider public in Wales," said an assembly goverment spokeswoman.

Ash tray
Ashtrays will have to be removed from public places

Smoking is allowed in designated rooms in adult residential care homes and mental hospitals.

What about private clubs?
They are also covered by the ban and include rugby clubs, golf and snooker clubs, and working men's clubs.

What do businesses have to do?
They will need to display no-smoking notices and to take "reasonable steps" to ensure that staff, customers and visitors are aware of the new law and that they do not smoke in their premises. Examples include removing all ashtrays, and telling anyone smoking they are committing an offence, refusing to serve them and asking them to stub out their cigarette or leave the premises.

Who is enforcing it and who is paying for it?
A team of 500 local council officers have powers to enter all no-smoking premises to ensure the ban is being enforced. Most of them are existing trading standards or public protection officers. The assembly government has given 800,000 to councils ahead of the ban and another 2m for the next 12 months.

If you are caught smoking in a banned place, are you personally liable or is it the premises concerned? What are the penalties?

  • Council enforcement officers can give out fixed penalty notices of 50 to people who they believe are smoking or have smoked. If it goes to court, the maximum fine is 200.
  • Premises can also break the law by failing to display no-smoking signs (200 fixed penalty, maximum fine 1,000).
  • Premises can also be fined for failing to prevent smoking in a smoke-free place, up to 2.500.

There are phone numbers for members of the public to use if they would like to report any breaches of the ban.

English: 0845 300 2525.

Welsh: 0845 300 2526.

The assembly government said enforcement action will be considered only "when the seriousness of the situation warrants it and that it will be fair, proportional and consistent."

What happens to the money from fines?

It goes to the Treasury. But the assembly government emphasises that it expects compliance rates to be high. It says that in Scotland, there have been very few penalty notices issued and even fewer prosecutions. The legislation has been largely self-policing, and it says has very high rates of public support.

What health benefits does the assembly government expect?
The aim is to protect workers and the general public from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. The assembly government estimates that exposure to second-hand smoke increases the risk of lung cancer in adult non-smokers by 24% and heart disease in adult non-smokers by 25%. It says it will avert at least 400 deaths per year among non-smokers in Wales from lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease and strokes.

Why a total ban and no exceptions, to include pubs not serving food for example?
Labour health spokesman Dr Brian Gibbons said pubs, bars and restaurants were "areas of particular risk for workers and customers." He said that there was evidence that customers quickly adapt to smoke-free environment, which was also welcomed by smokers. England is to fall in line with the Wales blanket ban policy, after originally considering excluding pubs which did not serve food.

What were the winning arguments for a full ban?
The assembly government points to the health benefits and the "clear evidence" that smoke damages the health of non-smokers. Following the move by Ireland in 2004, there are similar steps being taken in other countries and the assembly government points to public support. A Department of Health/Welsh assembly consultation document in England and Wales brought 57,000 responses, with 90% in favour of the ban.

What about those who opposed a ban?
Campaigners for the freedom to smoke Forest have called the ban "draconian" and said while most people supported legislation, given the choice, its surveys found the public supported options which would assign over some areas for smoking. The pub industry in Wales has warned of the effect on trade, proposing a smoking room and a ban on smoking at serving areas.

How did the Assembly decide on the ban?
The issue had been debated at UK and assembly government level for four years. An assembly committee on smoking in public places was set up and in May 2005 suggested the assembly government seek powers from the UK government to introduce a comprehensive ban. It was included in the Health Bill in 2005.

Why has it started in April in Wales but will start three months later in England?
Ministers have argued that there was an appetite for a ban in 2003, which had to wait for legislation so it is "over four years late" in Wales. There was some argument that pubs and restaurants on the border might suffer, but the assembly voted for the April date.





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