Operators urged to ‘discourage’ smoking in queues

Scottish Government says the request does not cover outdoor areas


THE Scottish Government has written to hospitality and retail businesses encouraging them to “take steps to discourage people from smoking or vaping” while queuing to enter premises.

A letter from the interim chief medical officer, Gregor Smith, said the Scottish Government has received “a significant volume of correspondence” from members of the public concerned about passive smoke or vapour from e-cigarettes while they are queuing to enter premises.

“While we stress that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 virus can be spread through smoke and vape drift, this has been raised as a public concern over and above the fact that many find the passive inhaling of tobacco or vape drift unpleasant,” wrote Smith.

He went on to say that the Scottish Government has been working with groups including Scottish Trading Standards, the Scottish Retail Consortium and Scottish Grocers’ Federation to “seek support in introducing non-legally binding protective measures that resolve the concerns expressed around the practice of smoking and/or vaping”.

“In line with the phase two retail sector and consumer guidance, and operational guide for retailers (COVID-19) checklist – available on the Scottish Government website, I therefore ask for your support to consider placing signs or notices outside your premises to encourage individuals not to smoke or vape whilst waiting in queues, for the consideration and comfort of others,” wrote Smith.

“Your assistance would be greatly appreciated in this matter.”

The signage and notices are voluntary and not required by law and the Scottish Government confirmed to SLTN that the request only currently covers queues and not outdoor areas.