Wales goes smokefree

In collaboration with the Press Association

This week saw the implementation of smokefree legislation across Wales. From 06:00 on April 2nd, anyone found to be smoking in enclosed public places will face an on-the-spot fine of £50. Welsh first minister Rhodri Morgan said of the ban: "This is the single most important public health measure that the Assembly has introduced. "Secondhand smoke in public places is estimated to cause 400 premature deaths a year. This is an unacceptable toll. "There is now strong support and acceptance from business and members of the public alike in Wales for a ban on smoking in enclosed public places. That support is gathering momentum as people become more aware of the damaging and deadly effects of breathing in second-hand smoke."

Owners of premises will also be responsible for ensuring that smokers do not light up and could also face fines if they allow it. Wales is the latest UK region to adopt the smoking ban, with Scotland having put the law in place last year.

Northern Ireland's smoking ban takes effect on April 30th, while English smokers will be banned from July 1st.

Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said:

"This is a truly historic day for Wales. All workers - including those who work in pubs and clubs - have an equal right to be protected from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

"The new law will bring about some of the most significant health improvements the country has seen in decades. We know from Ireland, Scotland and other smokefree nations, that the legislation will not only protect workers? health, but will also encourage many smokers to quit.

"Going smokefree heralds a healthier Wales and eventually thousands of lives saved."