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Scottish workplaces to quit smoking habit by 2006

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First Minister Jack McConnell outlined his plans to the Scottish Parliament for an all out smoking ban in Scotland which he said should be in place by spring 2006.

The government’s proposals include:

  • 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

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.”

Scotland is following the lead of Ireland, parts of America, Norway and the Netherlands who have already got smoking bans in place.

The debate is largely centred upon the battle between those who regard it as their right to smoke and those who believe they are entitled to breathe clean air while in the workplace.

ASH Scotland fully supports the smoking ban presenting their case with some chilling statistics. According to the campaigners, 13,000 Scots die every year due to tobacco related diseases.

Maureen Moore, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland said: “Smoking is a serious problem for health in Scotland, I am delighted that the Scottish Executive has acted decisively in proposing laws that will protect everyone from it.

“Tobacco has done so much damage to Scottish society; these new laws will help us to improve everyone’s quality of life. ASH Scotland strongly endorses this move from the Scottish Executive, it is a bold and radical proposal to find a Scottish solution to a Scottish problem.”

A spokesperson from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development told HRZone that the proposal look certain to spark debate for months to come.

“The decision in Scotland highlights the issue of staff in the hospitality trade who at present are unlikely to avoid working in smoky conditions. However, many employers already have ‘no smoking’ policies in place – and HR professionals will be used to working with managers to oversee their implementation. Until the legislation is published in Scotland, it is difficult to see how it will impact on employers who designate smoking areas outside their building.”

“Those employers who already ban smoking at work are likely to be driven partly by their legal duty to provide a safe working environment – which means taking into account the impact of a smoke-filled environment on the wellbeing of their people. A ‘clean air’ policy is also likely to reflect the desire to avoid putting-off job applicants and ensuring the satisfaction and retention of existing staff.”


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