27/04/2007

Environmental officers to enforce smoke-free legislation

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety has today confirmed that the smoke-free legislation will be fully enforced from 6am Monday 30 April 2007.

Chief Environmental Officer, Nigel McMahon said: “Environmental Health Officers and other authorised officers across all district council areas will be out on the ground from Monday 30 April 2007 to enforce the smoke-free legislation.

“In the main, Environmental Health Officers will be carrying out this role as part of their routine work and enforcement action will be taken where it is warranted.

“In addition, the Department has agreed to provide funding to supplement enforcement. This is particularly in respect of premises that council officers would not normally visit for other reasons and for work outside of normal hours.”

Smoke Free Environments Team Manager, Roisin McDaid added: “A team of 11 Smoke-free Environments Officers have been working with businesses since November last year, with the specific remit of raising awareness and providing advice in the lead up to the legislation. There has also been a major public awareness campaign.

“Understanding and support for the legislation is high. We are hopeful that this high level of public support will translate into an extremely high level of compliance.”

The Ulster Cancer Foundation has also praised the news, saying the country will reap substantial benefits from the new law.

Gerry McElwee, Head of Cancer Prevention, UCF said: “Monday 30th April, the day Northern Ireland goes smokefree, is a new chapter in the health of our population and we are absolutely confident that it will be an overwhelming success.

"All around the world smokefree legislation has improved health, been implemented easily and had no negative economic impact. The only harm done is to the tobacco industry, which both dislikes people smoking less and their products being shown for what they are - lethal."

(JM/KMcA)

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