31/05/2005

HPA calls for NI smoking ban

The Health Promotion Agency for Northern Ireland (HPA) has called on Health Minister, Shaun Woodward, to ban smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces in the province.

The call coincides with World No Tobacco Day on Tuesday and follows over 70,000 responses to the consultation on smoking which ended in March by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

Dr Brian Gaffney, Chief Executive of the HPA, said: “Smoking is the single greatest preventable cause of premature death and avoidable illness and around 3,000 people die from smoking related diseases in Northern Ireland every year.

“Bringing in smokefree workplaces would be one of the best ways to tackle smoking related illnesses and we would ask the government to stop dragging their heels and make a decision imminently.”

New research carried out by the HPA in February this year, revealed an increase in support for smokefree workplaces. The results showed that 74% believed that enclosed public places in Northern Ireland should be completely smokefree and 68% said they would support a law to make all workplaces smokefree.

(MB)

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