All Party Group of Politicians urges Health Secretary to adopt Irish Smokefree model

Wednesday 20 October 2004

ASH News Release: For immediate release, Wednesday 20th October 2004

Members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health are today calling on the Health Secretary John Reid to include smokefree legislation in the forthcoming White Paper on Public Health. A cross-party delegation [1] from the All-Party Group recently visited Ireland to see how the smokefree law there is working. Today they are sending a report on their findings [2] to Dr Reid and are seeking an early meeting to discuss their findings.

During their visit to Ireland the parliamentarians met with Irish politicians, trade unions, health groups and members of the hospitality trade. Amongst the key findings were:

  • Smokefree workplaces are popular and enforceable: after 6 months, the Irish smokefree law has achieved over 90% compliance
  • The hospitality trade should not be excluded from smokefree legislation as employees in this trade are amongst those most exposed to tobacco smoke pollution
  • All workers have the right to be given the same level of health protection
  • There has been no major economic impact of the law: alcohol sales were already declining before the smoking ban came into effect.
  • Support for the law continues to be high across the population: 82% support the law and 95% agree that it is a positive health measure.

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

“Ireland has shown that going smokefree is achievable and popular. But more importantly it is the only way of ensuring that employees are protected from the proven hazards of secondhand smoke. Half-way measures such as partial smoking restrictions are simply not adequate to guarantee health protection. The UK should adopt similar legislation to reduce the dreadful toll of illness and premature death caused by secondhand smoke at work.”
– ENDS –

[1] Lessons learned from Ireland’s smoke-free law. (pdf)
Further facts and statistics on the Irish smoke-free legislation are available here (pdf)

[2] 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 and Baroness Detta O’Cathain
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