50 Irish pub staff sue: a timely reminder why the UK needs new guidance on passive smoking at work

Thursday 28 October 1999
ASH/ Press releases/

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Press release Thursday 28th October 1999
For Immediate Release

Action on Smoking and Health

Fifty Irish pub staff sue – a timely reminder why Britain needs the new guidance on passive smoking in the workplace.

As the consultation period for the Approved Code of Practice on passive smoking in the workplace [1] comes to an end (29th October), the hospitality industry and workplaces received a timely reminder of why the new guidance is necessary.

Fifty pub staff in Ireland are taking their employers and the tobacco industry to court, claiming that smoking and passive smoking damaged their health. Dublin based solicitors Ward and Fitzpatrick are leading the first personal injury claim related to smoking and passive smoking in Ireland. Although, there is no direct legislation covering smoking in the workplace, employers have a duty of care under Health & Safety legislation.

Karl Brookes, Campaigns Manager of ASH commented: “The hospitality industry has made good progress on this issue in the UK with the Public Places Charter and many publicans are introducing no-smoking areas.”

However, this case shows the need for the new guidance from the Health & Safety Executive in the UK. “This case could be the first of the many and shows what could happen here if the hospitality trade fails to maintain its good progress by ignoring the Public Places Charter and the ACoP.”

The debate has been obstructed by the tobacco industry denying that passive smoking causes harm. ASH and the health community have continually tried to warn of the dangers of smoking and passive smoking. The ACoP and Charter recommends to employers some sensible steps that can be taken to minimise the health risk of passive smoking to their employees.

Brookes continued: “By taking on the Public Places Charter and the ACoP, the hospitality industry will be taking significant steps to reduce the possibility of legal action. Nobody’s health should be compromised simply because they are trying to earn a living.”

[1] Health and Safety Commission, Proposal for an Approved Code of Practice on Practice on passive smoking at work, July 1999


Contact Clive Bates, Director (0207) 739 5902
Karl Brookes (0207) 739 5902

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