SMOKING within 15 metres of a hospital building in Scotland will be banned from next week as a new law comes into force. 

The rule comes into effect from Monday, September 5 and applies to everyone including staff, visitors and patients. 

Smokers will have to make sure they are outside of the 15-metre zone or could face a fixed penalty notice of £50.

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If the incident ends up being taken to court, this could turn into a fine of £1000. 

The law applies to all NHS hospital buildings in Scotland including awnings, canopies, or any other overhanging structure connected to a hospital building "even if they extend further than 15 metres from a hospital building". 

The Scottish Government has said there will be signs at main entrances of hospital grounds and on buildings to inform people of the ban, and posters and leaflets have been distributed to GP surgeries. 

The National: Posters outside of hospital buildings will warn visitors that the ban is in placePosters outside of hospital buildings will warn visitors that the ban is in place

Public Health Minister Maree Todd said: “Everyone knows that smoking is bad for our health and hospital patients in particular should be protected from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.

“This new law is the latest step in our bold plan to make Scotland tobacco-free by 2034 – building on our dedicated stop-smoking services and early intervention measures to stop youngsters picking up the habit altogether.

“Anyone looking to quit can contact the NHS QuitYourWay Helpline or speak to their local pharmacy to discuss the range of help available.”

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ASH Scotland Chief Executive Sheila Duffy added: “Extending current legislation to include outdoor areas will have the positive impact of protecting people from the harmful effects of breathing in toxic tobacco smoke through vents, windows or doorways while they are being treated and recovering in hospital. 

“We urge people who smoke to be considerate in remaining outside the 15-metre perimeter, ensuring hospital patients do not face unnecessary additional risks to their health caused by inhaling harmful substances.

“This is particularly important as Scotland challenges the normalisation of smoking on our journey towards becoming tobacco-free.”