SNP Responds To Commission Plans On Smoking Ban

06 March 2007
The SNP has submitted it's response to a European Commission consultation into whether there should be a Europe wide ban on smoking in public places.

Speaking on the issue, SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell, whose 2003 private members bill introduced the concept of a ban in Scotland, said;

"As the SNP prepares for government in May it is only right that we should share our experience of the introduction and implementation of the smoking ban with our colleagues in Europe.

"There is no doubt that, one year on, the ban has significantly reduced the impact of smoking on a large number of people especially those working in pubs, clubs and restaurants across the country as well as encouraging many more to give up the habit."

SNP Europe spokesman, Alyn Smith MEP added

"While welcoming the fact that the Commission is keen to look into this issue we have expressed concerns that the introduction of a smoking ban is a matter that might be best left to individual governments at the appropriate level.

"Scotland's experience in introducing and implementing its own smoking ban shows that this can be dealt with satisfactorily at the local level with the legislation itself debated and discussed publicly by the Scottish Parliament and with input from a wide variety of interested organisations.

"What Scotland has ended up with is legislation that fits the purpose for Scotland and is appropriate for Scotland's own specific circumstances and I hope that other nations will get the same opportunity.

"I have taken this opportunity to invite the Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou to Scotland to see for himself how the ban is working and hope that he'll take up the opportunity."