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Smoking and Vaping In Queues

Tue 7 Jul 20

The Scottish Government would like to request that retailers

take steps to discourage people from smoking or vaping

whilst waiting in queues to enter premises.


This request follows a significant volume of correspondence

received by ourselves from concerned members of the public

around the practice by a minority of people. While we stress

that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that the Covid-

19 virus can be spread though 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



The dangers of second hand tobacco smoke are well

understood and there is a known health risk to people in

queues who are standing close to any clusters of people who

are smoking. There is no scientifically proven risk to health

from inhaling second hand vape.


Current laws governing where smoking is banned are

restricted to enclosed spaces where the dangers from

inhaling second-hand smoke are greater. Whether or not

individuals are permitted to smoke outside premises remains

at the discretion of management. This applies equally to

retail as it does to hospitality settings.


This Government has been working with Scottish Trading

Standards, the Scottish Retailers Consortium, and Scottish

Grocers Federation – organisations which collectively

represent the interests of most retailers across Scotland - to

seek support in introducing non-legally binding protective

measures that resolve the concerns expressed around the

practice of smoking and/ or vaping in the relative close

proximity of queues. We believe this should be discouraged

for the consideration and comfort of others.

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