Scotland stubs out smoking in bars

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Smoking in enclosed public places will be banned in Scotland under legislation to be launched before Christmas, the First Minister said today.

Smoking in enclosed public places will be banned in Scotland under legislation to be launched before Christmas, the First Minister said today.

Jack McConnell told the Scottish Parliament the legislation would have a target date of spring 2006 for full implementation.

Licensees or employers who fail to enforce the law in their premises will face fines of up to £2,500 – and licensees who persistently flout the law will face the ultimate sanction of having their their licence withdrawn.

Individuals who smoke in enclosed public areas will face fixed penalty notices

with a maximum fine of up to £1,000 for persistent offenders.

Environmental health and local licensing standards officers will be responsible for enforcement.

Private clubs will not be exempt from the ban.

The decision to go for a ban was taken by Scottish ministers at a Cabinet meeting this morning, but was not disclosed until Mr McConnell's statement to MSPs.

He told Parliament that poor diet, excessive drinking, lack of exercise and drug abuse all made Scotland one of the unhealthiest nations in Europe.

"Too many people smoke, and too many people die or fall ill from cancer, stroke and heart disease," he said.

"The single largest cause of preventable premature death in Scotland is smoking."

He detailed the consultation process that the Executive launched on ways to curb the toll of 13,000 smoking–related deaths a year.

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