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Legal study to look at smoking ban plan.

Byline: CLARE USHER

LIVERPOOL will have banned smoking in public bars and restaurants by 2008 when the city becomes European Capital of Culture -if campaigners succeed with their proposals.

Smokefree Liverpool will receive pounds 82,000 from theCentral Liverpool Primary Care Trust through the organisation Health Action Zone to work on the action plan.

Liverpool Council executive member for the environment Cllr Richard Oglethorpe, who put forward the plan, said:``This is not a vindictive campaign against smokers,it is about the legal responsibilities of employers to their workers.

``It is only a matter of time before people start taking their bosses to court for second-hand smoke-relatedillnesses.''

The Smokefree Liverpool campaign will look at all practical and legal aspects of the city becoming smoke-free.

Merseyside Health Action Zone spokeswoman Joan Brookman said that the cost of the Smokefree Liverpool programme should be viewed against the human costs of smoking,and its cost to the city economy.

She said: ``Smoking costs the NHS in Liverpool at least pounds 12.7m every year,and a report by an independent consultant showed that the annual economic cost to employers of smoking amongst the Liverpool workforce is approximately pounds 28m.''

Spokeswoman for Smokefree Liverpool,Chris Owens,from the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, said:``We are about protecting people from second-hand tobacco smoke, so we are particularly looking at workplaces in small and medium enterprises.''

Liverpool Chamber of Commerce were also held up by the council in their report, to be discussed on March 19,as an example of an organisation which wants to be smoke free.

Chairman of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce Ian Meadows said: ``The Chamber is still in discussions and will come to a conclusion in a few weeks' time.''

BARS that are non- smoking are increasing in number, with the latest due to open on April 8 in Conway Street,Birkenhead.

The Latin Quarter is divided into two separate areas, with different entrances for smokers and non-smokers.

Customers will be allowed to smoke in one bar throughout the day, while another will be operated as a non- smoking cafe during the day and an executive bar during the evening.

Plan of actionAssess the current smoke free policies in the city.

Look at other smokeless cities, like New York and Dublin.

Investigate the legal and practical implications.

Public consultation will form a part of the project.

Assessments of how legal it is to enforce a smoking ban in workplaces.

The level of support for the increased number of people who want to give up smoking will be looked at.

A cost benefit analysis will be undertaken.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 18, 2004
Words:436
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