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Update On Enforcing The Smoking Ban In The Highlands

30th May 2006

A report going to The Highland Council's TEC Services Committee on Thursday (I June) will show that following the introduction of the ban on smoking in enclosed places, the enforcement strategy adopted by the Council, has been effective, and compliance by businesses and customers in Highland has been extremely high.

Councillors will be told that of the 778 premises inspected so far, 572 have been found to be fully compliant and the remaining 206 required advice in meet the strict requirements of the legislation. No fixed penalty notices have been issued in the Highlands nor has anyone been reported for prosecution.

The Highland Councils enforcement strategy involves education and carrying out high profile inspections. Head of Environmental Health, Alistair Thomson said: "Before the legislation came into force we gave presentations to the licensed trade and hotel proprietors and we then adopted a non-confrontational, educational and supportive approach to enforcement throughout the Highlands. This has proved to be very successful.

"Our inspection team have been busy providing advice and detailed information and carrying out spot check inspections. They are receiving a lot of support from businesses who in turn have been very positive in setting up no-smoking policies for their own premises. Any businesses looking for help or advice on aspects of the legislation should give us a call."

The Scottish Executive has provided funding for the Council up until 2008 to employ three full time officers (two full time and two job-sharing) to enforce the legislation and offer support and guidance to businesses.

The Executive also set up a national smoke-free compliance phone line to co-ordinate complaints about non-compliance. To date 8 such complaints have been made from the entire Highland area and a further 13 made direct to the Council. All complaints have been investigated and advice given where appropriate.

Legislation banning smoking in defined premises that are wholly or substantially enclosed premises came into effect across the whole of Scotland on 26 March. The new law affects most public places, including work places and work vehicles.


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