A Europe-wide ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and other public places could be on the cards, after the EU health commissioner indicated support for the move.
Markos Kyprianou is to table proposals on smoke-free environments next week. It is the start of a process that could use Ireland's successful ban on smoking in pubs, restaurants and other public places as a model for an EU-wide ban.
The green paper on "legal mechanisms and health promotion initiatives" is likely to look favourably at a continent-wide ban, a spokesman for Kyprianou said.
Scottish Labour Euro-MP Catherine Stihler welcomed the announcement.
"Scotland's ban has been an enormous success and I am confident we can reduce rates of harmful diseases caused by smoking," she told the Scotsman.
"With 79,000 Europeans dying every year because of passive smoking this is surely a great incentive to ban this terrible addiction in public places."
By Daniel Thomas
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