N Ireland to have smoking 'ban'
Britain published a bill Monday to outlaw smoking in enclosed public places in Northern Ireland and to impose hefty fines on violators.india Updated: Mar 06, 2006 19:22 IST
Britain published a bill Monday to outlaw smoking in enclosed public places in Northern Ireland and to impose hefty fines on violators.
Health Minister Shaun Woodward asked the public to suggest improvements to the Smoking Order 2006 before a deadline of May 5, when it will be presented to Parliament in London.
Woodward, who in October announced his plan to impose a ban similar to the one in force in the neighboring Republic of Ireland, said he still wasn't sure what exemptions to the ban should apply. "For example, I am recommending that private members' clubs should not be exempt from the legislation. But should designated areas within care homes, which are both homes and workplaces, be exempt? What about psychiatric units and prisons?"
Woodward asked. The Republic of Ireland in March 2004 became the first country in the world to ban smoking from most enclosed public places, including pubs, but made exceptions for prisons, hotel rooms and psychiatric hospitals because they are people's residences. Several other European countries since have restricted or banned public smoking, including Norway and Italy.
Woodward said the Northern Ireland law, in its current draft, would slap a maximum 1,000 pound (about euro1,450, US$1,750) fine on anybody caught smoking in a prohibited place, while managers or owners of ban-violating businesses would face a maximum 2,500-pound (euro3,650; US$4,400) fine for "failure to prevent a person smoking." In the Irish Republic, law-breaking smokers and business premises alike have faced a maximum fine of euro3,000 (US$3,600), a punishment that has spurred widespread observation of the law.