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Irish government claims smoking ban success

01 June 2004

The Irish government has hailed its move to ban smoking in pubs, restaurants and bars as a success, with 97% of establishments complying with the legislation and the numbers visiting pubs and restaurants remaining steady.

The figures from the country's Office of Tobacco Control, said 97% of premises inspected had been found to be complying with the new laws, which were introduced at the end of March.

This meant, out of some 7,500 premises surveyed, more than 200 pubs, restaurants and hotels had been in breach of the new regulations in their first month.

A total of 87% of pubs and restaurants had the right level of "no smoking" signage in place, the office added.

Since the laws came into force there had been 1,524 calls to a compliance helpline, about 44% of which related to complaints about establishments flouting the rules.

But the numbers of complaints had been steadily falling as proprietors became familiar with the regulations, and were now running at around 6% of calls to the line.

The office also carried out two surveys to gauge public reaction to the ban, one at the end of March, just before the ban came into force, and one a month later.

These found the number of non-smokers visiting pubs and bars had increased slightly, while the number of smokers had remained largely the same.

A total of 96% of workers surveyed reported their workplace was no longer smoky, and those who felt the pub or bar they had most recently visited was smoky had dropped from 52% to 2%.

by Nic Paton

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