Scotland Leads Britain in Banning Smoking

Medical Authors and Editors: Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D. and Frederick Hecht, M.D.

November 10, 2004 --Today Scotland banned smoking in public places and became the first country in the UK to introduce smoke-free legislation.

Congratulating the First Minister, Dr Peter Terry, chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA) in Scotland, said:

"This is a great day for Scotland and a great day for devolution. While government at Westminster procrastinates, our own Scottish Executive has consulted with the public, listened to the debate and has decided that the health of the population is worth more than the biased economic arguments and junk science promoted by those who argued against legislation.

Science and Sense Have Prevailed

"Science and sense have prevailed and we now wait for the legislation that will reduce the risk to health caused by exposure to tobacco smoke and will make significant inroads in improving the health of the nation."

"We recognise that the hospitality industry has expressed concerns over the potential economic impact of restrictions on smoking in their premises, and we must work with them to make this legislation effective. We must not loose sight of the fact that this legislation is about protecting the health of workers and the public. Human life is worth more than any economic argument."

Helping Smokers Stop

However, Dr Terry also recognized that support must be provided to help smokers cope with the changes in the law.