Edinburgh's Smoking Ban - One Year On

Submitted by edg on Fri, 23 Mar '07 9.07am

It's a year since smokers were told to stub out in Edinburgh's pubs, restaurants, and other enclosed public areas. A year on, the Council says that the legislation has proved to be a success.

Since the smoking ban came into effect in Scotland on 26 March 2006, Environmental Health Officers from the Council's Services for Communities have have carried out 7,500 inspections of Edinburgh premises as part of an ongoing programme of education and joint working.

The council says that all complaints where a breach of the ban is alleged are followed up with visits to the premises concerned.

To date seven Fixed Penalty Notices have been issued for breaches of the ban and 150 written warnings given. One report was sent to the Procurator Fiscal, who issued a fine.

Puffing up in a no-smoking premises can incur a fixed penalty of £50; the manager of no-smoking premises could be issued a fixed penalty of £200 for allowing others to smoke in no-smoking premises or failing to display warning notices in, or near no-smoking premises; refusal or failure to pay may result in prosecution and maximum fine of £2,500.

Edinburgh's initiative has been viewed with interest by other councils. Ten local authorities from Wales and England, where similar legislation is being introduced this year, have either made a reconnaissance visit to Edinburgh or have one scheduled.

Councillor Sheila Gilmore, the Executive Member for Community Safety and Housing, said: "The ban on smoking in public places is a key public health initiative that will pay dividends in the years to come."