Northern Ireland is to introduce smoking restrictions in public places, according to minister for health Shaun Woodward.
In a speech on public health in Belfast yesterday, the minister acknowledged that 91% of people surveyed had called for a total ban.
Woodward said such high support from a sample of 70,000 meant prohibiting smoking in most enclosed public places and workplaces was the very least he would now be considering.
"I believe we have a profound responsibility to get this right. A few more months to decide [on a partial or total ban] will be worth the wait," he said.
The ex-smoker said he didn't question the medical evidence against smoking, which claims 3,000 lives in Northern Ireland each year.
Woodward added he would examine how a total ban would affect the licensed hotel and tourist trade, looking to Dublin and New York to judge the effects.
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