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Last Updated: Friday, 11 May 2007, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
English passengers' smoking ban
Runcorn East Station
Passengers at Runcorn East are banned from lighting up
Rail passengers at 24 English stations run by a Welsh train company have been stopped from smoking despite a ban in England not yet being in place.

Arriva Trains Wales banned lighting up on all its stations after smoking in enclosed spaces in Wales was made illegal in April.

The firm said it wanted "uniformity" across its stations but its decision has angered pro-smoking group Forest.

"They have really jumped the gun," said Neil Rafferty from Forest.

"I'm surprised there hasn't been a legal challenge to it," he said.

"At the end of the day, it is their property and if that's what they want then there you go.

"But it seems to me that are taking advantage of their customers and are using the differences in the laws at present to victimise their passengers in England.

Man smoking
What a drag for English smokers at the affected stations

"I wouldn't be surprised if there was customer dissatisfaction.

"They should have a bit more respect for their English customers who are smokers.

"If I was one of their customers I would be looking for an alternative," he added.

But Arriva Trains Wales defended its decision.

"It certainly wasn't our intention to foist Welsh policies on English people," said the firm.

"But just ensure a uniform smoking ban across all our stations."

A smoking ban in enclosed spaces in England is due to be introduced in July.

Arriva Trains Wales 175 train
The company said its customers had given positive feedback

Commercial director for the train firm, Mike Bagshaw said: "Arriva Trains Wales has exercised rail bye-laws so that we can offer a consistent smoking ban for all our passengers across Wales and Borders.

"This is in response to what customers have told us they want."

Among the train stations affected are Nantwich, Church Stretton, Craven Arms, Hereford, Shrewsbury, Chester and Runcorn East.

Spokeswoman Maggie Abbett from Arriva Trains Wales added: "The smoking ban is going to come into operation in England in a couple of months and we thought the best way we could do it was to introduce a blanket ban across our stations - including the border stations."

But the Arriva Trains Wales' ban goes further than prohibiting smoking in enclosed spaces as demanded by the legislation in Wales.

"It will be the whole station, not just the enclosed spaces," said Ms Abbett.

"We thought it would be more consistent to introduce it across our stations.

"We did have feedback from customers who said they wanted it," she added.


SEE ALSO
Countdown to the ban
08 May 07 |  Magazine

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