Irish smoking ban a success
A RECENT survey of Irish pubs, hotels and restaurants found 97 per cent obeying the government's wide-ranging smoking ban, according to the first implementation report from the country's Office of Tobacco Control (OTC) today.
The number of customers going to pubs has also risen, silencing critics of the ban who said it would damage trade in pubs and restaurants.
On March 29, Ireland introduced one of the toughest anti-smoking laws in the world and banned lighting up in a range of public places, even in company cars.
Anyone found breaching it faces a fine of up to 3,000 euros ($A5150).
The OTC said visits by health inspectors to 7,589 hotels, restaurants and pubs, in the first month of the ban had found that in 97 per cent of cases there was no one smoking and no evidence of smoking.
Restaurants were 99 per cent smoke free. Two hundred out of 4,995 pubs were found to be in breach of the ban.
Welcoming the report, Health Minister Micheal 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 surveys commissioned from research firm TNS mrbi suggested pub business had not been hit by the ban with customer numbers remaining constant.
"The number of non-smokers visiting pubs/bars has increased slightly since the introduction of the new law, while the number of smokers visiting has remained the same.
"The research shows that almost one in five smokers chose not to smoke at all when out socialising," he said.
A month after the ban, a survey found 71 per cent of people had visited a pub within the previous fortnight. The corresponding figure prior to the ban was 68 per cent.
"The increase in pub visits is accounted for by the increased frequency of non-smokers from 67 per cent to 70 per cent. The rate of pub visiting by smokers has remained steady at 74 per cent."