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Scotland smoking ban begins

27th March 2006

A ban on smoking in public places came in to effect in Scotland yesterday.

The ban, the first of its kind in the UK, requires smokers to head outdoors should they wish to light up in places such as pubs and restaurants.

Enforcement officers were seen in a number of public locations yesterday but are believed to be taking a gentle approach to violations while the scheme gets underway.

Fines of £50 for individuals flouting the ban and £200 penalties for businesses that do not seek to prevent smoking on their premises will be gradually enforced.

A study by Cancer Research UK claims that around three quarters of inhabitants are proud that Scotland is the first country in the UK to bring in the ban.

Professor Gerard Hastings, director of Cancer Research UK's tobacco control unit at Stirling University, told the BBC: "A smoking ban will save many thousands of lives in Scotland over the next ten years due to people being protected from second-hand tobacco smoke and smokers deciding to quit."

Cigarettes are thought to be responsible for the deaths of over 110,000 people in the UK each year.