Ireland's smoking ban a 'success' says report

Ireland's Office of Tobacco Control (OTC) has reported that 97% of premises are complying with legislation calling for a smoking ban in the workplace.

The research has also shown that levels of visits to pubs and restaurants remain constant with one-in-five smokers choosing not to smoke at all when socialising.

Welcoming the report, the Minister for Health and Children, Micheál Martin said: “The successful introduction of the new measure reflects the widespread public support and goodwill that exists for a healthy smoke-free environment in the workplace."

OTC Chief Inspector Dave Molloy said that this report is based on the first month of operation of the new law, from 29 March to 30 April last and gives an overview of the national picture, with particular reference to the hospitality sector.

The report comprised data drawn from three sources: the National Tobacco Control Inspection programme; the smoke-free workplace compliance line; and market research on public attitudes and behaviours.

Mr Molloy said that overall national compliance levels were high with 97% of premises inspected complying with the smoking prohibition - no one smoking and no evidence of smoking in contravention of the law - and 87% had displayed ‘No Smoking’ signs.

“In response to concerns expressed by the licensed trade much of the compliance building effort and support materials were directed specifically at this sector and this is reflected in the statistics, " he said.

Two thirds of the inspections related to licensed premises and found compliance levels of 96% for the smoking prohibition and 89% in respect of the requirement for ‘No Smoking’ signs.

In the five-week period from March 29 to the May 2, 1,524 calls had been made to the compliance hotline, but that after the first week there had been a steady decline in the number of calls received.

Mr Molloy said: "The research indicates that the number of non-smokers visiting pubs and bars has increased slightly since the introduction of the new law, while the number of smokers visiting has remained the same.

“The surveys also demonstrate that the key benefits of smoke-free laws are being achieved in that people can work and socialise in smoke-free environments. The vast majority of workers (96%) surveyed report that their workplace is not smoky while the percentage of those who felt the pub/bar most recently visited was smoky dropped from 52% to 2%."

The research showed that almost one-in-five smokers chose not to smoke at all when out socialising, and that smokers who had admitted smoking inside a pub/bar had fallen to 1% in April.


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