Intended for healthcare professionals


Ireland leads the way for Europe in banning smoking in the workplace

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 04 September 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:522
  1. Muiris Houston
  1. Galway

    The planned ban on smoking in the workplace from next year has brought protests from Irish pubs and restaurants

    Who would have thought that Ireland—known for its myriad of pubs and hostelries—would become the first country in Europe to introduce a total ban on smoking in places of entertainment? But from 1 January next year a workplace ban on smoking will include all elements of the hospitality industry, from pubs and bars to restaurants, hotels, and even bed and breakfasts.

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    Irish pubs, famed for their stout, will soon become smoke-free zones


    An estimated 7000 people die each year in Ireland from smoking related diseases. A recent national health and lifestyle survey showed a 4% decline in the number of people smoking, from 31% of the population in 1998 to 27% in 2002. The percentage of smokers fell in all age groups and social classes. However, the level of passive exposure to smoke in pubs and clubs remains high, affecting 47% of men and 32% of women.

    The forthcoming ban continues Ireland's proactive record on tobacco control issues and is part of legislation aimed at providing comprehensive regulation and control of the sale, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products. It reflects about five years' work by non-governmental organisations, such as the Irish Cancer Society, as well …

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