Support grows for cross-border ban on smoking
Support grows for cross-border ban on smoking

Pressure is growing for an all-Ireland ban on smoking in workplaces following the success of the measure in the 26 Counties.

Research by the North’s Health Promotion Agency suggests that the majority of people in the Six Counties would support a ban.

A range of cancer charities, as well as the Chest Heart and Stroke Association, believe that the time is right to extend the ban to all 32 counties because of widespread political and public support.

The four main political parties in the north say they are in favour of the government introducing legislation.

The success of the smoking ban in the South has noticeably increased pressure on the British government to introduce similar legislation.

Dublin’s health minister Micheal Martin said he believed that his government had delivered a positive legacy for future generations.

However, some 26-County smokers have been able to continue their habit by smoking across the border in pubs under British jurisdiction, leading to calls for harmonisation of legislation on an island-wide basis.

Britain is considering whether to ban smoking at the workplace, but British Prime Minister Tony Blair said today he has not yet made up his mind.

“We’re considering it, and that’s as much as it is at the moment. Until we’ve done the various consultations it would be wrong to give a final view,” Mr Blair told BBC television.

“What we know is that there’s no doubt about the damage that smoking does. And I think that for a lot of people who are not smokers, they would prefer to be in an environment where there is not smoking taking place,” he said.

“I think in the end though, you also have got to have some local decision-making in this.”

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