NOT A single fine has been imposed since smoking was banned on hospital grounds last year.
Council leaders – who are responsible for overseeing the ban – have admitted they have failed to impose penalties.
This despite warnings from union leaders that smoking continued “every day” in the ground.
Wilma Brown, a nurse and member of Unison’s health committee, said: “Generally, they move on because they know it’s not the right place to smoke. Sometimes you just have to point it out to them.”
“Sometimes people get pretty angry with employees asking them to move on. So we had quite a lot of issues where we had to call security, but I think over time people realize the reasons and it’s gotten easier.”
According to STV News, 31 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities responded to the FOIs’ question about fines for those violating the smoking ban – and all said they had not imposed any penalties.
In September 2022, new legislation was introduced extending the voluntary smoke-free hospital campus policy from 2015.
This means it is now banned from smoking within 15 meters of an NHS building, including under awnings, canopies or other overhanging structures.
Those caught face a fixed sentence of £50 or a fine of £1,000 if brought to justice.
However, none were handed out and councilors claimed they did not have the resources to enforce the ban.
Ash Scotland chief executive Sheila Duffy said: “We know prison officers and councils are under pressure and councils are under funding pressure. So I think it’s important that funding is secured for them, so they know they have the people who can go out there and watch and make sure the law is enforced.”
She added: “However, this is not about fines, it’s about cleaning the air for people’s health and tobacco smoke is toxic, it’s preventable and it doesn’t need to be in hospitals.”
Health Secretary Jenni Minto said she hoped the lack of fines would mean people were “heeding” the law.
She said: “In some ways I think it’s not a bad thing that there haven’t been any fines because enforcement really is the last resort.”
“I would like hospitals and environmental health officials to use a much more encouraging and enlightened process rather than imposing fines or imposing fines through enforcement.”
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