A smoking ban in enclosed public places comes into effect in Northern Ireland. Any smoker found lighting up faces a fine.

The ban kicked in at 6.00 am in places such as transport centres, hotels and bars. Similar bans have been already been introduced in Scotland and Wales, and three years after it was introduced in the Republic of Ireland. 

There are around a thousand publicans in Northern Ireland, many of whom are now introducing beer gardens and smoking shelters in an attempt to retain customers. This is not feasible for all, particularly smaller pubs who are worried about how the ban will impact their revenue. 

Nicola Carruthers of the Federation of the Retail Licensed Trade, says that as was the case in the Republic of Ireland, many smaller rural pubs in the north will not survive. 

In many cases, it'll be the smoking ban that tips them over the edge.

Business premises face a fine of £2,500 (over €3,600) if they fail to enforce the ban. Environmental Health Officers say that they expect a high level of compliance. 

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 30 April 2007. The reporter is Michael Fisher.