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Caithness News Bulletins February 2005

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The annual cost to The Highland Council of imposing a ban on smoking in public places from the spring of 2006 is likely to exceed 200,000, members of Resources Committee were told. The main spending will be on the appointment of four environmental health officers, two covering the North and two covering the South, to ~police~ the areas 1,500 public houses, restaurants and hotels and also deal with complaints and queries from all types of premises. The environmental health officers will take the lead role in serving fixed penalty notices to individuals whom they find smoking in enclosed public places.  The cost of engaging four officers is estimated at 184,000 per year.

Additional costs will be incurred in processing penalty notices and providing replacement/additional signage for all Council premises advising occupiers/users that smoking is not permitted.
The Council decided in September last year to support the proposal to ban smoking in public places after being advised that smoking is the single biggest cause of preventable premature death and ill-health in Scotland and that 440 deaths could be avoided in Highland each year if smoking ceased.

The Council would like to see the ban extended to cover private licensed clubs but care homes and day centres should be considered for exemption to support the home for life ethos and avoid further exclusion from services of vulnerable and disadvantaged people.

At that time, it was suggested that a law should be introduced alongside further awareness raising, smoking cessation support and smoking prevention work with young people and that a duty of care should be imposed on care providers to pro-actively address smoking cessation amongst service users.

Under the current smoking policy, the Council has designated smoking rooms within some of its premises. When the ban is introduced these rooms will no longer be legal.

Licensees or employers who fail to enforce the law in their premises will face fines up to a maximum of 2,500. Licensees who persistently refuse to comply with Scottish law will face the ultimate sanction of licence withdrawal by the local licensing board. The Executive will examine, in consultation with those charged with enforcing the legislation, a system for issuing fixed penalty notices for individuals who smoke in enclosed public areas and will introduce a maximum fine of 1,000 for persistent offenders.