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Aylesbury Vale counts down to smoking ban

Archived press release

Date Published: 14/06/07

The countdown is underway to the introduction of the government’s new smoke-free legislation. From 1 July, virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces in England will be smoke-free. This means that it will be against the law to smok...

The countdown is underway to the introduction of the government’s new smoke-free legislation.

From 1 July, virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces in England will be smoke-free. This means that it will be against the law to smoke in places such as pubs, offices, nightclubs, factories, restaurants and shopping centres.

At work, smoking inside will become a thing of the past, and indoor smoking rooms will no longer be allowed. Public transport will be smoke-free and work vehicles used by more than one person will be smoke-free too.

The aim is to protect everyone from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke in enclosed public places and workplaces and create a cleaner and healthier environment to visit or work in – as well as encouraging smokers to quit the habit.

Aylesbury Vale District Council has been preparing carefully for the smoking ban, to ensure that enough help will be available for businesses to comply and those district residents and visitors will be totally aware of what the ban means.

The council has been working in partnership with other local authorities in the county to arrange a series of information seminars to help businesses understand the requirements of the ban and what they can do to help achieve a smooth transition to a smoke-free Buckinghamshire. AVDC has also sent a mail shot to 4,000 businesses in the district to inform owners that the legislation is coming and where to get information to enable them to be prepared.

Information has also been available from the Buckinghamshire NHS Stop Smoking Service to inform employers of the free support available to their workforce should they want to use 1 July as an opportunity to stop smoking.

When the smoking ban comes into force next month, members of AVDC’s environmental health team will be visiting as many businesses as possible to check that they understand the implications of the law and have the correct signage displayed.

AVDC will have responsibility for enforcing the new legislation and will have the power to issue fines to anyone breaking the law.

Councillor Sir Beville Stanier, Cabinet Member for Environment and Health, said: “The new smoke-free legislation will create a new experience for customers and staff alike at venues across the district. It will bring a range of benefits, including protecting employees and the public from the effects of second-hand smoke.

“Our main focus, at first, will be to advise and remind businesses about the legislation, to ensure they display the correct signs and that staff comply with the law. However, we will use penalties when people are clearly and deliberately ignoring the legislation.

“The feedback we are getting from the licensed trade and other employees is very positive – the vast majority are in favour of becoming smoke-free. Businesses are keen to work with the council over the legislation and we do not envisage any particular problems come 1 July.”

Under the new law, enclosed public places will need to display an A5 sign at all entrances to remind visitors that it is against the law to smoke inside. Failure to do this could result in a fixed penalty of £200 (£150 if paid within 15 days) or prosecution with a maximum fine of £1,000.

According to the law, if the management or person in control fails to prevent smoking, they could be prosecuted and fined up to £2,500. People caught smoking in enclosed public places could be fined a fixed penalty of £50 (£30 if paid within 15 days), or face prosecution and a maximum fine of £200.

Businesses will also need to consider ways to adapt to any possible spill-over effects, like increased noise and litter levels outside the front of their premises as a result of customers and employees going outside to smoke.

Some pubs, bars and other businesses are choosing to provide outdoor smoking shelters and areas for customers and staff, but they do not have to do so. Those that are providing outdoor shelters are being urged to check whether planning permission is needed – this will depend on what is being proposed.

Val Mills, Manager of the Buckinghamshire NHS Stop Smoking Service, said approximately 70 per cent of smokers want to stop and many will use 1 July as a motivator to do so: “The smoke-free legislation isn’t about forcing people to stop smoking but research from countries which have already implemented a similar law showed an increase in the number of people accessing support during the run up to the ban,” she said.

“We are informing local businesses of the free service available to their employees, should they choose to stop smoking, to give them an increased chance of successfully stopping. With professional support from our service – combined with nicotine replacement therapy – a smoker is four times more likely to become smoke-free,” she added.

For further information on the new smoke-free legislation and how it affects Aylesbury Vale see www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk or call 01296 585605. Additional information is also available on the national information line on 0800 169 1697 or by going to www.smokefreeengland.co.uk

For further information about the services provided by the Buckinghamshire NHS Stop Smoking Service call 0845 2707 222 or visit www.smokescape.org

Contact information

Telephone:

01296 585099

Email:

communications@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk