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Legal challenge to smoking ban begins

8 March 2006

A legal challenge to Scotland's smoking ban began yesterday when a judge granted formal orders for four petitions for judicial review to be served on Scottish ministers.

Those challenging the ban at the Court of Session are smoker Donald Lawson of Aviemore, Edinburgh City Football Club, the Swallow Hotels chain and London & Edinburgh Inns. Swallow Hotels runs 61 hotels throughout the country, while London & Edinburgh Inns has 50 public houses.

The four petitions want the court to declare that the smoking ban is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Swallow Hotels is against erecting smoking parasols or awnings in the grounds of its hotels as these would not be attractive to patrons, make the hotel visually unappealing and would be cold and draughty. London & Edinburgh Inns said many of its customers enjoyed the combination of drinking and smoking.

Edinburgh City FC claims 80 per cent of its income is from bar sales and is worried there will be a drop in income when the smoking ban starts.

Mr Lawson argues that the ban is designed to combat the effects of passive smoking, but that the majority of adverse health effects from passive smoking occur from exposure to smoke in the home. His petition states that smoking is an integral part of his social life and social identity.

A date for a full hearing will be set later.