Scotland's First Minister Jack McConnell has confirmed that the Scottish Executive wants to introduce a comprehensive ban on smoking in public places.

He told MSPs: "I am proud to announce to Parliament today that we will, with your support, introduce a comprehensive ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces."

The Scottish Cabinet met this morning to consider the plan, which is designed to tackle Scotland's poor health record and high level of deaths from tobacco-related diseases.

An earlier consultation by the Executive revealed that 90 per cent of Scots support at least a partial ban.

However, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, which represents pubs and clubs, says a ban would damage the trade and is ready to go to court to block it.

Later this month the Department of Health (DoH) will set out the way it plans to take this issue forward in England and Wales through its white paper on public health. Today's decision will put pressure on the DoH to follow Scotland's lead.

In October, Liverpool City Council became the first council to vote in favour of a ban on smoking in public places. It wants the Government to bring forward legislation allowing it to implement a ban within the next year.
hda-online

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