16/11/2006

NI Smoking ban set for 2007

Health Minister, Paul Goggins today announced that Northern Ireland’s smoke-free legislation will come into effect on April 30 2007.

The legislation has now completed its parliamentary process, which means that smoking will no longer be permitted in enclosed public places and work places, including bars and restaurants.

Making the announcement, Mr Goggins said: “I am delighted to announce today that Northern Ireland’s smoke-free legislation is now on the statute book. Northern Ireland will go smoke-free on 30 April 2007.

“We have some work to do before 30 April next year. We need to build on the widespread support for smoke-free provision by ensuring that everyone - the general public, employers and employees - are fully aware of the implications of the legislation. Therefore, once the regulations underpinning the Smoking (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 have been finalised, we will issue guidance on good practice.”

The Health Minister continued: “I have been encouraged by the overwhelming level of support this legislation has received across Northern Ireland. It is about improving and protecting the health of everyone but especially those who do not smoke. I do hope however that it will also give smokers that extra incentive they may need to give up.

“Smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable illness and premature death in Northern Ireland, costing the health service around £44 million each year. This legislation will save lives. It will protect the public and employees from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke.”

The Minister concluded: “Monday 30 April 2007 will be a landmark day for Northern Ireland. I am confident it will lead to a healthier people enjoying a better environment in which to work and relax.”

(EF)

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