How did the smoking ban affect town?

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Only a handful of Wiganers have received an official warning for breaching the ban on smoking indoors, officials figures reveal.

Figures obtained by the Wigan Post on the 10th anniversary of the legislation’s introduction show just 14 people have been cautioned for flouting the law.

However, despite council chiefs having the power to issue financial penalties against errant smokers, no-one has yet been prosecuted or fined under the 2007 legislation.

Anyone prosecuted under the anti-smoking ban law can be fined up to £200, while businesses can be fined up to £2,500 for failing to enforce the rules. Town hall chiefs say the public support for the ban meant court action had not proved necessary.

Julie Middlehurst, Wigan Council’s head of regulatory services, said: “The health benefits of the ban have been widely documented and so we are really pleased that we have excellent compliance levels.

“Like many places, we had an initial period where some people needed reminding about the ban, but since then there has been a lot of support from the public.

“It is also fantastic that across the borough, we now have a record low number of smokers.”

Hazel Cheeseman, ASH director of policy, said the ban had helped drive down smoking numbers. She said: “Smoking prevalence is at an all-time low in the North West at 16.8 per cent but smoking remains the leading cause of preventable premature death.”