Shire Hotels is forcing smokers to quit the habit six months early after today announcing a smoking ban in all its properties.

The official Government-backed smoking ban, which will see the practice outlawed in all public places, is not due to be introduced until July this year.

However, the hotel chain is now banning smoking in all the bedrooms, public areas, bars, restaurants and meeting and events rooms of its six properties, leaving die-hard smokers with only designated external areas in which to smoke in.

Shire Hotels managing director Ian Harkness said: “This move was borne mainly out of our desire to promote healthier lifestyle options to our guests – a consistently top priority for us – and has been supported by a marked decrease in reservations for smoking rooms.

“We decided that January 2007 was the perfect time to implement this as it will give our guests an added incentive to try to quit before the national ban on 1 July 2007.”