Sipping and Smoking Unlawful in Much of UK

Christmas will bring all of the usual festivities to Scotland except one. December 2004 will see the banning of smoking in public places in Scotland. Full implementation is to take place by Spring of 2006.

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to £2,500 - and licensees who persistently flout the law will face the ultimate sanction of having their their license withdrawn.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

This could change the way Rankin writes Rebus and how nicotine addled alkies view a trip to the corner pub.

A similar ban has taken place in Ireland, much to the chagrin of vacationing Americans totally unaware that their Celtic booze binge would be sans ciggies. This trend is being taken up by much of Europe and America. Hapless travelers best beware before lighting up in public.

UPDATE: England to join the ban wagon in four years!

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