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Smoking ban does not affect Irish hospitality industry, says report

25 October 2005

Ireland's smoking ban in enclosed public places has not hurt the country's hospitality industry, according to the Office of Tobacco Control (OTC).

At the launch of the OTC's annual report chairman Dr Michael Boland said there had been "no adverse economic effect" on hospitality businesses.

Boland said official figures showed bar retail sales by volume had increased during the most recent three-month period (year-on-year) following four years of decline.

The number of people employed in the bar sector also jumped by 1,400 to 23,200,

He added: "High compliance with the smoke-free workplace law means dramatic reduction in exposure to second-hand smoke in enclosed workplaces."

His claim was backed up by independent research published last week by the British Medical Journal, which found 329 bar staff had experienced, on average, an 80% reduction in exposure to cancer causing particles produced by second-hand cigarette smoke post ban.

Eddie Cassidy, divisional organiser at Irish trade union Mandate, which helped organise the research, described the dual findings as a vindication of the ban.

"There were predictions of 67,000 job losses in the industry before the ban but I'd say this had been more like a hundred or maybe a few hundred at the most."

However the Vintners Federation of Ireland, which represents 6,000 publicans in the country, disputed this. "Our research suggests 7,500 pub and bar jobs were lost in the 12 months after the ban and 600 premises closed."

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