The majority of respondents to a consultation on banning smoking near hospital buildings support a 15-metre enforcement zone to protect people from the dangers of second-hand smoke.
A total of 559 people or organisations commented on the possible introduction of a legally-enforceable no-smoking area around hospital buildings. 72% of them agreed that 15 metres was a suitable distance.
The Scottish Parliament has already passed legislation to make it an offence to light up in no-smoking areas outside hospitals. However, before penalties can be imposed, secondary legislation is needed on three technical matters which the consultation sought views on:
- the distance which will form the perimeter of the no-smoking areas outside a hospital building
- the wording of no-smoking notices and how they’re displayed
- whether there are any specific areas of land or buildings on hospital grounds where there is no need for a no- smoking area
Following the publication of the consultation results, the Scottish Government will publish a paper within 12 weeks outlining how the findings will be taken forward and the timeframe for doing so.
Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:
“Our hospitals need to be seen as accessible, open places which promote good health and lifestyle choices. Every aspect of life there should reflect that.
“This consultation asked questions on technical details which will allow regulations which are already agreed to come into force, extending the existing indoor smoking ban to a set distance outside hospital buildings.
“Smoking remains the most significant cause of ill health in Scotland – leading to up to 100,000 hospitalisations per year and more than 9,000 premature deaths and I believe the enforcement of no-smoking areas will help us cut those numbers.”
Read the full analysis here.