The proposal laid down includes provisions to fine members of the public up to £1,000 if they smoke within 15m of an NHS entrance. In addition, any NHS staff who fail to enforce the no-smoking policy could be fined twice up to £2,000.
Derek Bell, president of The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, said he is: “In strong support of a ban on smoking around hospital buildings. Our aim is to work with the Scottish government, health boards and services, local authorities and our colleagues to improve public health and we think that no-smoking boundaries outside hospital buildings could help protect the most vulnerable patients. The college believes that e-cigarettes should be included in any legislation relating to a smoking ban outside hospital buildings and on hospital grounds.”
Tory MSP Rachel Hamilton believes the ban should be extended to cover public spaces, to “protect children”. She wants a ban to cover the areas surrounding play parks and outdoor sports facilities such as football stadia.
“I am calling on the Scottish Government to follow the Welsh Government’s example, by banning smoking in play parks, playgrounds and outdoor sports facilities, where children may be playing or participating in sport,” she said.
A government spokesperson said: “The majority of local authorities in Scotland already have policies in place which restrict smoking around schools, playgrounds, play parks and outdoor sports facilities. Our action plan sets out a series of measures which leave no-one in any doubt that we are determined to continue to be a world leader in tobacco control.”
Smoking advocacy group Forest’s Simon Clark commented: “Banning smoking outside, where there is no risk to non-smokers, shows an appalling lack of empathy for people who may be at a low ebb and in need of a comforting cigarette.”
“A ban on smoking in play parks and outdoor sports grounds would be a gross over-reaction. Legislation must be evidence-based and there is no evidence that smoking outside, in the open air, poses a significant threat to other people’s health, including children.”
“Regardless of the negligible health risks, the overwhelming majority of smokers don’t smoke in children’s play areas. Further legislation would merely highlight the chasm that exists between ordinary people and self-righteous politicians who want to instruct us how to behave.”