Liverpool to decide on smoking ban

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Liverpool could ban smoking in public places - the first UK city to do so - if councillors approve a bill today.

Liverpool could ban smoking in public places - the first UK city to do so - if councillors approve a bill today.

The bill would make it illegal to smoke in areas including restaurants, pubs, shops, offices and other enclosed workplaces.

If today's bill is passed, councillors will then petition Parliament for a smoke-free law for Liverpool.

The council wants the bill passed within a year and says it would impose a fine of £1,000 on anyone breaking the law.

Cllr Richard Oglethorpe, the city council's executive member of green issues, told the BBC that more than 1,000 people died of illnesses related to passive smoking each year in Liverpool.

"Liverpool is the lung cancer capital of the United Kingdom. It's not a title we're proud of, it's one we want to get rid of," he said.

He said a ban was supported by smokers and non-smokers alike.

"Most smokers want to give up and the place where they find it hardest to give up is when you go into a bar, you've had a few drinks, everyone else is smoking so people tend to go back to their old ways.

"Introducing the smoking ban will help people give up."

He added he was "quietly confident" that a majority of Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors would support the bill when it was considered by the council.

A petition would have to reach Parliament by November 27 to be considered in the next legislative session.

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