Smoking in Scotland's pubs, hotels and restaurants will be illegal as early as spring 2006 after the Scottish Executive announced it would introduce a ban in enclosed public places.
In a statement to the Scottish Parliament last week, First Minister Jack McConnell, who has championed the move, said the ban would save lives and transform the nation's health.
The legislation will be introduced through the Health Service (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill before Christmas this year, and the ban will be administered by environmental health departments and local councils.
Licensees will be liable for a fine of up to £2,500 or loss of their liquor licence if they fail to enforce the law, while members of the public could be hit with a £1,000 penalty.
Responding to the announcement, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association has pledged to fight "tooth and nail" against the ban, which it fears threatens 30,000 jobs.
Research commissioned by the executive and conducted by the University of Aberdeen as part of the consultation process was noncommittal on the potential impact of a ban. It suggested the ban could result in an annual loss of £63m, or gain of £281m, to the economy, depending on the unknown effect it has on the Scottish pub trade.
Nick Bish, chief executive of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, dismissed the proposed ban as more to do with political point-scoring than employee health.
"The penalties announced are all about licensees, barely about employers and hardly at all about offending smokers," said Bish. "Mr McConnell expects the industry to deliver his vision of a smoke-free Scotland, expects it to foot the bill, and still characterises licensees as the likely villains."
Passive smoking kills 1,000 people a year in Scotland, according to research commissioned by the Scottish Executive.