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Banning smoking outside hospitals "discriminates against elderly and infirm"

Mon 5th September, 2022

Campaigners say a law that bans smoking within 15 metres of hospital buildings discriminates against the elderly and the infirm.

The new law, which came into force in Scotland today, applies to staff, visitors and patients.

Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ lobby group Forest, said:

"The new law is disappointing because it discriminates against patients who are elderly and infirm and may find it difficult to walk the extra yards to enjoy a comforting cigarette.

“There's also the question of enforcement. Who will hand out on the spot fines? Surely the NHS has bigger and more urgent problems to address than someone smoking a cigarette in the open air outside a hospital building?"

He added, "Given there is no evidence that smoking outside is a significant health risk to non-smokers, the new law seems like a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

"I just hope hospital managers will show some common sense and compassion and have a quiet word with people rather than issuing potentially distressing fines to those who need support not punishment."

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