Scottish Government urged to review smoking ban

Smoking has been banned in enclosed public spaces since 2006
Smoking has been banned in enclosed public spaces since 2006
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THE Scottish Government is being urged to review the smoking ban amid claims that new developments in ventilation and clean air technology could see it relaxed.

• New developments in ventilation and clean air technology could see smoking ban relaxed

• Smoking was banned in enclosed public spaces such as bars and restaurants in 2006

• Lobby group Freedom to Choose Scotland says that European Air Quality standards on indoor areas back up case for ending ban

A petition has been lodged with MSPs which also raises questions over the impact of secondary smoking and points to growing calls north and south of the Border to amend the ban.

Scotland led the way in banning smoking in enclosed public spaces like bars and restaurants in 2006, with the rest of the UK following this path a year later. But other European countries like Denmark and Holland have already relaxed their own bans to allow smoking areas in some premises.

A group called Freedom to Choose Scotland, which has previously lobbied for an end to the ban, says that new European Air Quality standards on indoor areas, published since the smoking ban, backs up its case.

The group says these guidelines do not suggest good practice involves a ban on smoking. It is recognised as a pollutant, along with others, but ventilation requirements are set out to deal with these.

The Petition states: “Ventilation, or clean air technology is a developing science and ventilation includes extraction and other methods of air cleaning,

It adds: “Any effective air cleaning system removes toxins regardless of their source.”

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association warned last year that 800 pubs have closed in Scotland since the ban and have called for it to be relaxed.

A campaign entitled Save Our Pubs and Clubs campaign is already up and running south of the Border which is calling for the ban to be amended amid claims that thousands of pubs have been forced to shut n England alone. It has the support of MPs from all the major political parties.

Paul Waterson, chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association said: “Our ban is one of the most draconian in the world.

“I don’t think there’s any chance of us going back to the days of smoky pubs in Scotland, but I think certainly we could look at well ventilated areas for smoking within pubs.

“There are many areas of Europe that do have ventilated smoking rooms and I think we could look at that because one thing is for sure, all the smoking ban has done is to close pubs. It hasn’t helped anybody to stop smoking. We can protect staff and others with the ventilation systems we’ve got.”

He added that three pubs a week in Scotland are still closing since the ban.