Government poll shows support for Irish smoking ban

11 August 2004
Government poll shows support for Irish smoking ban

Five months in, Ireland's ban on smoking in public, including in bars, workplaces and restaurants, has continued to get strong support from the public, government figures have suggested.

But the statistics are at odds with a survey by Irish publicans claiming the ban is devastating trade in rural pubs.

Some pubs want the ban relaxed
A study of 1,000 people by the Department of Health and Children reported 95% believing the legislation, which came in on 29 March, had been a good thing for people's health. A total of 82% welcomed the measure, 90% felt it was a good move for workers and 82% thought it benefited everyone in public places. More importantly for the hospitality industry, 70% of those polled said the legislation had improved their experience in pubs, with 78% saying the same thing for restaurants. A total of 53% indicated they would be more inclined to eat in a pub than before 29 March. Minister for health and children, Micheál Martin said: "There are still those who are trying to discredit what is commonly known as the smoking ban, but this negative approach has not affected the positive views of most people on this important public health issue." Martin's comments are likely to have been directed at Vintners' Federation of Ireland, which has been pleading for a relaxation of the legislation. It has published a study of 6,000 members pointing to rural pubs suffering a "devastating" loss of business as a result of the smoking rules and a ban on children in pubs after 9pm. Federation president Seamus O'Donoghue said: "Trade has dropped off dramatically and many customers now arrive later and stay for shorter periods. "Once the summer season ends and the weather becomes more inclement further loss of business and employment is inevitable." by Nic Paton Buy this week's *Caterer* magazine for more industry news and analysis
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