A TAXI driver has become the first person in Doncaster to be taken to court and convicted of smoking in a public place.
Other smoking offenders have accepted a fixed penalty after being caught but Brian McAdam denied the offence and appeared before the town’s magistrates.
But they did not believe his claim that he was using an electronic cigarette to simulate smoking.
McAdam, aged 59, of Sherwood Avenue, Askern, was found guilty of smoking in a private hire vehicle last October.
He had been spotted by a council enforcement officer and was given a fixed penalty notice which he did not pay, so Doncaster Council took him to court.
McAdam pleaded not guilty and produced an electronic cigarette which he claimed to have been smoking.
But magistrates heard evidence from the council’s enforcement officer that he had seen smoke and ash.
An electronic cigarette, also known as an e-cigarette, is an electrical device that simulates tobacco smoking by producing an inhaled mist giving the physical sensation, appearance, and often the flavour and nicotine content of tobacco smoke but without the smell.
It can be used to help stop smoking, as it attempts to deliver the experience without adverse health effects associated with tobacco smoke.
But concerns have been raised that use of the device still carries health risks and it could appeal to non-smokers, especially children, due to its novelty and flavourings.
McAdam was fined £50, ordered to pay costs of £400, and a £15 victim surcharge.
Doncaster Council reminds people that smoking in enclosed buildings and vehicles that are used as places of work or by the public is illegal.
Coun Cynthia Ransome, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “This is a landmark case for Doncaster. The vast majority of local people do stick to the rules, but this sends a strong message to those tempted to have a cigarette where they know they should not”
“Smoking legislation is designed to reduce the risks to health from exposure to second-hand smoke, we will take action against those who commit offences.
“I would feel very sorry for anyone having to get into a smoke-filled taxi, this is not acceptable.”
If McAdam had paid his fixed penalty notice without going through the court system it would have cost him just £30.
Doncaster Council does not receive fines levied by magistrates, which go to the court, but it receive the costs.