Ministers move to break the smoking habit


The Scottish government today took the first steps towards a comprehensive ban on smoking in public places.

In a statement to the Scottish Parliament, First Minister Jack McConnell outlined plans for the ban which should be in place by spring 2006.

The government's proposals:

  • To seek a comprehensive ban on smoking in all enclosed public places in Scotland
  • The legislation will be enforced by Environmental Health and Local Licensing Officers
  • Licensees or employers who fail to enforce the law will face fines up to a maximum of £2,500
  • Licensees who persistently refuse to comply with the law will face the ultimate sanction of losing their liquor licence
  • To examine a system of issuing fixed penalty notices for those individuals who break the law. Those individuals who persistently break the law will face a maximum fine of £1,000

The legislation will be introduced through the forthcoming Health Service (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which will be introduced to Parliament before Christmas.

Read the full statement

Mr McConnell said:

"A comprehensive ban will be a clear signal that Scotland has changed. It will reduce smoking, save lives and help transform our national health. It will be easier to enforce and simpler to understand than other options that would fall short of that.

"We will take the steps to implement this decision together with those affected, not simply to impose it on those who are addicted, or worried about their business.

"I believe that there is no greater action we can take to improve the well-being of children and families in Scotland, for generations to come, than to secure this legislation and make Scotland's public places smoke free.

"But more than anything, the reason why smoking in public places should be illegal is because of the message it sends about our nation.

"No longer will Scotland be the place in Europe most associated with poor health, and no longer does Scotland need to wait for someone else to take responsibility for difficult decisions."

No smoking sign

The Deputy First Minister, Jim Wallace, said:

"Like, I am sure, many others my decision to ban smoking in enclosed public spaces has been a personal journey.

"Our determination to improve health is the key reason behind Ministers' decision. Given the mounting medical evidence and the astonishing public engagement in the debate we have to act.

"Something good and innovative is about to happen in Scotland. I certainly believe that the case for a ban is now incontestable, the support overwhelming.

"It will have worldwide appeal. Potentially there is a opportunity here for Scottish business. They should seize that chance. I am in no doubt at all that this move is in the best long term interests of Scotland's health and economic well-being."

Read the full statement