About 1,000 pub landlords reportedly defied the English smoking ban which came in to force at 6am Sunday (1 July) taking advantage of a "softly, softly" approach to enforcement from local authorities.
Councils have the power to fine both customers who light up (up to £50) and landlords who allow smoking in their property (up to £2,500), but they did not issue one yesterday despite public defiance from many publicans.
Campaign group Freedom2Choose claims 1,000 publicans allowed their customers to light up yesterday, but few of the 1,200 council enforcement officers who will help police the ban were on duty.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said only repeat offenders would be fined, and only after a warning.
Experience from Scotland and Ireland suggests the ban will be self-policed, an LGA spokesman said.
By Daniel Thomas
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