SMOKING IN PUBLIC PLACES: A CONSULTATION
SMOKING IN PUBLIC PLACES: A CONSULTATION
I am writing to seek your views on smoking in public places. The responses to the consultation will help to inform the Scottish Executive's future policy on reducing exposure to second-hand smoke.
Smoking is the biggest cause of premature death and ill health in Scotland. It is now estimated to claim over 13,000 lives each year and costs the NHS in Scotland an estimated 200 million per annum.
In January 2004, the Scottish Executive published the first ever action plan on tobacco control specifically for Scotland. This plan, A Breath of Fresh Air for Scotlandwww.scotland.gov.uk/library5/health/abfa-00.asp sets out proposals for reducing tobacco related harm. It indicated the need for:
- more public education on the health risks involved with second-hand smoke, also known as ' passive smoking' or ' environmental tobacco smoke' (ETS);
- firm action to extend smoke-free zones in enclosed public places; and
- an open public debate on the dangers involved in passive smoking and how to reduce exposure.
In order to inform our decision making, the Executive is undertaking a wide ranging consultation process. We would like to hear what you think about smoking in public places and possible approaches that might be taken in order to reduce potential exposure to second-hand smoke. The attached consultation pack contains information on how existing policies on the provision of smoke-free zones in businesses in Scotland are set, and options for the future. It also contains fact sheets which set out some of the health risks of exposure, some information about passive smoking in the workplace and a little about what is happening in other countries.
We are inviting written responses to this consultation by 30 September 2004. Written responses may be submitted in the following ways:
Smoking in Public Places Consultation Team
3 E(S), St Andrew's House
All responses should also include a completed Respondee Information Form, which is incorporated into the response form. This will help ensure we handle your response appropriately.
We will make all responses available to the public in the Scottish Executive library by Thursday 28 October and on the Scottish Executive Consultation Web Pages by Thursday 4 November, unless confidentiality is requested. All responses that are not marked confidential, will be checked for any potentially defamatory material, before being logged in the library or placed on the web-site. The findings from the consultation will be made available as soon as possible thereafter.
A list of the main organisations we are consulting is attached to this letter and a full list is available on request. However, we have made clear our determination to consult as widely as possible on this subject and would also hope to receive a significant number of responses from individual members of the public. We would therefore welcome your support in encouraging employees, members or customers throughout Scotland to respond to the consultation. You might, for example, feel able to publicise our web-site address or make response forms available in your premises. We can make bulk supplies of a shortened public questionnaire available to you for that purpose.
A discussion forum will also take place on the Smoking Consultation webpages (log on to www.scotland.gov.uk/smokingconsultation/) where you can exchange views with other interested parties in addition to your formal response. You can telephone Freephone 0800 77 1234 to find out where your nearest public internet access point is.
If you would like to obtain further copies of the consultation pack or public questionnaire, please call 0800 027 7127. If you would like further information about this consultation, including how to obtain copies of the response form in alternative formats and languages, please call 0131 244 3344.
Responses to this document will be supplemented by research into international experience and evidence about the health and economic impact of action to limit the effects of second-hand smoke; research on current practice and attitudes within Scottish businesses; an analysis of public opinion; and a more detailed assessment of the health impact of passive smoking in Scotland. We believe that taking the time to review and consider all this evidence in its entirety will provide us with the strongest possible basis for future action of whatever kind.
Substance Misuse Division