Richards cleared of cigarette ban breach

KEITH Richards, the Rolling Stones guitarist, will not be fined for breaching Scotland's smoking ban, it has emerged.

Claims that he broke the law by puffing on a cigarette while performing at Hampden Park were made to Glasgow City Council, but environmental officers said yesterday the stage at the stadium is not an enclosed public place, as defined in the ban. The Stones played at the venue on Friday on their Bigger Bang European tour.

The new law aims to reduce the health damage caused by second-hand tobacco smoke.

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The actor Mel Smith was prevented from lighting a cigar as part of a theatre show in Edinburgh last month. The comedian, who played Winston Churchill in a Fringe production, had threatened to ignore the law and light up during the performance.

The ban on smoking in all public places came into effect in Scotland on 26 March. Under the legislation, anyone smoking in enclosed spaces, including theatres, sports venues and bus shelters, faces a 50 fine. The manager of any premises who allows others to smoke there can be fined 200.

Meanwhile, it emerged yesterday that scores of drivers have been fined for flouting the smoking ban. Renfrewshire Council has netted nearly 50 taxi, bus and delivery drivers.

A Renfrewshire Council spokesman said: "We are simply enforcing the law. Only one of the acts has not taken place in a vehicle, so this is obviously not a problem confined to this area."

Glasgow City Council has issued only four fixed penalty notices in the same period. In East Renfrewshire, only one fine has been issued and none have been given out in North or South Lanarkshire.