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Dublin: 14 °C Thursday 2 July, 2020
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Should outdoor smoking areas go smoke-free when pubs and restaurants reopen?

Health Minister Simon Harris said the proposal will be considered.

Image: Shutterstock

MINISTER FOR HEALTH Simon Harris has said the government will “give consideration” to a call to make outdoor areas in pubs and restaurants smoke-free when they reopen.

The call has come from the Policy Group on Tobacco at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, which has written to the minister with the recommendation.
Chair of the group Professor Des Cox said this morning that, if outdoor areas are to be used to facilitate social distancing, we will see “non-smokers cohabitating this area with smokers”.

“Also, in the proposals set out by the vintners associations, they intend to supply table service, so this means bar staff are going to be doing table service to these areas as well,” Cox told the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk

So, if you have non-smokers and you have bar staff regularly in these smoking areas, they’re going to be inadvertently exposed to second-hand smoke. And we all know that second-hand smoke is not good for anyone, and there’s no safe levels of second-hand smoke that we can accept. 

Asked about the proposal on the Dermot & Dave show on Today FM, Harris said he has not yet had an opportunity to consider the proposal but that it will be looked at 

I get the point that they’re making though, and look we’ll give it consideration. I mean, bearing in mind in any outdoor area people are meant to still keep their distance as well, so people are still meant to be two meters apart. I suppose the risk that they’re highlighting is that people who don’t smoke don’t want to be in the vicinity of people who are smoking and the public health risks of that. But look, we’ll give all of those issues look into course as well.

In a statement this morning, pro-smoking lobby group Forest Ireland said that “smokers should be considerate to those around them” but that further regulations are not needed. 

“Pubs and bars must be allowed to choose their own policy on smoking in outdoor areas,” spokesperson John Mallon said.

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Poll: Should areas outside pubs and restaurants be made smoke-free?


Poll Results:

No (4992)
Yes (4930)
Don't know (280)



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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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