Swallow abandons legal challenge to Scottish smoking ban

14 June 2006 by
Swallow abandons legal challenge to Scottish smoking ban

Swallow Hotels' legal challenge to the Scottish smoking ban has collapsed.

The group, which owns more than 750 hotels, had vowed to delay the legislation in a court hearing on 20 June. However, chairman Alan Bowes has now formally abandoned the case.

"The ban is now in place and unfortunately there is very little we can do to change this, despite all our best efforts," Bowes said.

"We believe we have achieved our goal by making people aware that the battle Scotland is fighting is much bigger. I personally think that we will soon be living in a ‘Nanny State' where ‘Big Brother' really will be watching us and everything we do will be controlled."

Maureen Moore, chief executive of ASH Scotland said: "It was my view that this challenge was more of a publicity stunt than a serious attempt to block Scotland's smoke-free public places."

She added: "Opponents to smoke-free public places in Scotland have long prophesied economic gloom, mass-disobedience and courtroom battles as a consequence of the legislation. Nevertheless, the past three months have seen pubs reporting an increase in trade."

Scotland's ban on smoking in all public places has been in effect since March. England and Northern Ireland will follow next year, but no date has been set for Wales.

By Alix Young

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