Despite the start of the smoking ban in Northern Ireland many hospitality businesses remain uncertain of the details of England's smoke free regulations, according to research.
With bans in Wales and Scotland already in place and England's smoking ban set to start from July 2007, general knowledge of the ban amongst hotel and catering businesses is good with nearly nine out of 10 (88%) aware of it.
However, a Department of Health survey conducted earlier this year of 1,141 businesses in England and 145 hospitality concerns, found many operators remained unsure of the details, which will include the obligatory display of non-smoking signage.
One in 10 (11%) hotel and catering businesses surveyed did not realise that their smoking room would have to be closed post-ban, while nearly half (46%) did not realise work vehicles will be covered by the new law.
More than half (56%) of all hotel and catering businesses admitted they were not yet fully compliant and would have to take action before the 1 July ban.
Caroline Flint MP, public health minister, said: "The countdown is now well underway until England goes smoke free. Guidance is now available to download and is currently being mailed directly to businesses."
By Chris Druce
E-mail your comments to Chris Druce here.