Tuesday, April 03, 2007

All of us will be affected one way or the other...

I subscribe to a very useful free newsletter about employment law from Emplaw.co.uk- no surprise there, I guess. The latest edition features some information about about the forthcoming smoking ban on 01st July. I thought it might make everyone's arguments a little clearer if I reproduced some pointers here:

"The five sets of regulations putting flesh on the bare bones of the proposals were issued in March 2007. Before looking at a few of the more important details it is worth mentioning that similar new rules apply in Wales from 2nd April 2007 and in Northern Ireland from 30th April 2007. Amazingly, the no-smoking symbol employers must display in Wales is a little larger than the one required in England - and the sizes required in Scotland are slightly different again. Presumably this is unintended regional inconsistency rather than something to do with the size of cigarettes or the quality of eyesight in the three countries.

A few of the more important details for England are:
1. a definition of "substantially enclosed" (basically premises with a fixed or movable roof, including a canvas awning, and which are at least partially walled, meaning that the area of walling is greater than the area of permanent openings in the walls); [I happen to know that railway station platforms and concourse areas will all be designated as "enclosed" for the purposes of this legislation and that Plymouth station may extend the area to include the station front and car park]

2. a description of smoke-free vehicles (basically roofed parts of all vehicles used by the public or used for work unless always used by just one person): [so the scare story about the self employed person not being able to smoke in his/her own van is a fallacy, but (s)he mustn't then use the van to convey an apprentice or workmate.]

3. exemptions. The more important exemptions include:

(i) private dwellings even if someone is working there to provide personal care for a resident or to carry out maintenance work;

(ii) designated bedrooms (but not dormitories) in hotels and clubs etc provided they are completely enclosed and have self-closing doors;

(iii) parts of theatres where smoking is appropriate for "the artistic integrity of a performance"; (iv) a designated room in an offshore installation;

(v) shops of "specialist tobacconists" (as defined);

(vi) a designated room in a research or testing facility when in use for smoking related research or testing.

Details of fixed penalties. The basic rule is that infringement will be a criminal offence but in most cases there is provision for fixed penalties in lieu.

A fixed penalty of £200 paid within 29 days of demand (reduced to £150 if paid promptly) will prevent prosecution for failing to display the required "no-smoking sign" and a fixed penalty of £50 paid within 29 days of demand (reduced to £30 if paid promptly) will prevent prosecution for smoking in a smoke-free place."

I know there's divided opinion on this one, and that it can be a touchy subject; this little posting is to try and help everyone's arguments be based on fact and not on heresay or newspaper silliness. For the record, I'm in favour of the ban - I believe there's to be a celebratory pub crawl around Millbrook and Kingsand/Cawsand on 01st July in as much finery as can be mustered. At last our decent clothing won't smell of old ashtrays after going out for a pint or two!
I do hope, however, that all of those non-smokers who are saying that the ban won't affect the pub trade because they'll start going more often keep to their word. We need the pubs in Millbrook to be vibrant places central to village life; we can't afford to lose any one of them if their smoking customers decide to stay away. It's vital that we all support them after the ban comes into effect.

1 comment:

BathNick said...

A small and related comment on Bath 'n' Stuff http://bathnstuff.blogspot.com/2007/02/well-here-we-go.html regarding the cost of policing the new law. Cheers. I'm sure that the new 'outdoor smoking' sub-class will still get to the pubs as much as ever. Perhaps landlords could provide shackled umbrellas outside their doors during inclement weather. :)