The smoking ban in England
Like it or not, England is following the rest of the UK with a smoking ban. Smoking will be banned in all public indoor spaces on 1 July, 2007.
The England smoking ban follows similar decisions made in several parts of Europe, the USA and Scotland, Wales and Ireland. If you're a smoker in protest over the English ban, count your lucky stars you don't live in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, where the sale and use of tobacco is completely outlawed.
Where will smoking be banned?
Smoking in all indoor public places will be banned. Many places - such as cinemas and public transport - have rarely permitted smoking in recent years, so it will be places like pubs, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs and private members' clubs that feel the biggest impact of the ban.
Where will you be able to smoke?
You'll still be allowed to light up outdoors, in the home or places considered to be 'homes', such as prisons, care homes and hotels.
Smoking could still be banned at certain outdoor locations that are 'substantially enclosed', such as football grounds and railway platforms. No decision has yet been made on smoking inside cars carrying passengers.
What will happen if I'm caught fag-in-hand?
If you're caught smoking in a banned area you could be fined £50.
But who's really going to care if I light up a sneaky one?
Those in charge of the premises would be fools to let you get away with it, especially considering that they could face a £2,500 fine if they fail to stop you. They could also be charged on-the-spot fines of £200 if they fail to display no-smoking signs, with the penalty increasing to £1,000 if the issue goes to court.