Irish Visit Convinces All Party Group on Need for Smoke-free Law



Friday 08 October 2004

ASH News Release:  For immediate release,  Friday 8th October 2004
After a factfinding trip to look at the effects of Ireland’s new smokefree workplaces law, the All- Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health has unanimously called on the UK Government to include smokefree legislation in the White Paper on Public Health, due to be published in November. They will be sending a report of their trip to Health Secretary John Reid and seeking an early meeting to discuss their findings.

Public opinion in Ireland shows overwhelming support for the new law and compliance is running at a rate of around 97%. It is estimated that around 7,000 people have stopped smoking since the smokefree law came into effect with a further 10,000 stating that they have reduced their consumption.  Sales of cigarettes fell almost 16% in the first six months of 2004, according to the Irish Revenue Commissioners.

The following politicians went to Ireland as part of the APG delegation:

  • Mr David Taylor  MP
  • Ms Julie Morgan MP
  • Mr John Robertson MP
  • Lord Richard Faulkner
  • Lord Tim Clement Jones
  • Baroness Detta O’Cathain

Also present was Mr Bob Cotton, Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association.

David Taylor MP, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health said:

“It was inspirational to meet Micheal Martin, the former Irish health minister, who brought in their smokefree law. When he made the commitment to bring it in he said ‘I have no choice. There is no moral option open to me other than to take action. We say to John Reid that the time has come for him to make the moral choice too.”

The All Party Group met industry representatives throughout the hospitality trade, and they confirmed that they now have no doubts about the health case for smokefree legislation. The All Party Group concluded that smokefree workplaces will be good for health, and if the trade is given time and support to adjust, good for business too.

 

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Notes

A full briefing on the impact of the Irish smoke-free legislation is available as a pdf here.

ASH provides secretarial support for the All Party Group on Smoking and Health.

Contact: Deborah Arnott  020 7739 5902 (w) 079 7693 5987 (m) ISDN available