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SURVEY OF VOLUNTARY CHARTER ON SMOKING IN PUBLIC

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An independent survey on the uptake of the Scottish Voluntary Charter on Smoking in Public Places was published tod...
An independent survey on the uptake of the Scottish Voluntary Charter on Smoking in Public Places was published today.

Deputy health minister Tom McCabe gave a cautious welcome to the survey. The minister acknowledged evidence showing an increase in smoke-free areas across Scotland's public places such as restaurants, shopping centres, cinemas and pubs made encouraging reading, but stressed that there was still a long way to go.

The minister said:

'I welcome the progress made under the Scottish Voluntary Charter on Smoking in Public places.

'I am particularly pleased to note the increase in the number of premises which offer smoke free areas. This helps increase customer choice to socialise in a smoke-free atmosphere.

'The Scottish Voluntary Charter sets four key provisions which include having a written smoking policy for both staff and the public, the provision of smoke-free areas for the public and displays signage close to the entrance.

'It is therefore disappointing that only 11 per cent of businesses in the food and entertainment sector complied with all key aspects of the Voluntary Charter. Furthermore, it is important to recognise that the survey was unable to verify enforcement of these non-smoking areas.

'We recognise the risks associated with passive smoking and have made it clear we want fast and steady progress to be made in the provision of smoke-free policies for the workplace and public places.

'We are currently undertaking a detailed review of the national tobacco control strategy and action to reduce the impact of second-hand tobacco smoke is an important element of that review.

'We will shortly launch a new action plan on tobacco control designed specifically for the needs of Scotland. One part of the wide ranging action plan is the intention to engage in a widespread public dialogue on the issue of smoking in public places.

'We're ruling nothing out at this stage and an extension of the voluntary approach remains an option. We will consult on this, and other possible options, including statutory controls in order to see how we can best achieve to the extension of smoke-free areas in public places.

'In addition, we are working with NHS Health Scotland on ways to better inform the public about the risks associated with second-hand tobacco smoke. A media campaign being developed by NHS Health Scotland will be aired later this year.'

The key points noted in the survey are:

* 68 per cent of businesses surveyed had a smoking policy, against an industry target of 56 per cent, a rise from 46 per cent in 2000

* 68 per cent of business in the food and entertainment sector had a smoking policy

* 34 per cent of businesses surveyed had a written smoking policy, against an industry target of 35 per cent, a rise from 25 per cent in 2000

* 29 per cent of business in the food and entertainment sector had a written smoking policy

* 32 per cent of businesses surveyed had a signage close to entrances, against an industry target of26 per cent, a rise from 16 per cent in 2000

* 28 per cent of business in the food and entertainment sector had signage close to entrances

* 61 per cent of businesses surveyed had a non-smoking provision against an industry target of 49 per cent, a rise from 39 per cent in 2000

* 58 per cent of business in the food and entertainment sector had non-smoking provision

Survey interviews were conducted with respondents from 974 of the 1,574 businesses approached to take part in the study. This represents an overall response rate of 62%.

11 per cent of the business representatives contacted refused to participate. For the remaining businesses, either a representative could not be contacted or the number given in the database was incorrect or unobtainable.

90 per cent of respondents were in positions of management and 98 per cent were responsible for either deciding or implementing the relevant smoking policy.

Over half of respondents was male (55 pe r cent) and a similar proportion (54 per cent) was aged between 35 and 54 years of age.

The breakdown of type of business surveyed was:

* 78 per cent (759) of respondents classified their businesses as Food & Entertainment establishments (public houses/bars, restaurants, hotels, inns and motels, cafes, social clubs and associations and cinemas, theatres and concert halls)

* 17 per cent (165) classified their businesses as sports and recreation establishments (sports clubs and associations, leisure/sports centres, community centres, betting shops, stadia, swimming pools, greyhound/horse racing tracks)

* 1 per cent (11) of respondents were from shopping centres and 4 per cent (39) were from superstores

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