Ten years on from the Smoking ban, was it a good thing for Ireland? – TheLiberal.ie – Our News, Your Views

Ten years on from the Smoking ban, was it a good thing for Ireland?


This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Irish smoking ban and according to Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin, it has had significant benefits for public health. He announced than almost 4,000 lives had been saved as a result of the ban at the 75th ardfheis. 

 The Tobacco Free Research Institute Ireland has estimated that 3,700 lives have been saved as a result of the smoking ban while the irish Cancer Society has calculated that there has been a 25% decrease in the amount of Irish smokers as a result of the ban. 

 Ireland was the first country in the world to implement the smoking ban that prevents people from smoking in the workplace, public houses/bars and restaurants. Since the EU recommendations for a smoking ban, 17 other EU countries have also followed suit and Ireland has been cited as having some of the strictest smoke free laws. 

The government says it has aims for Ireland to be a smoke free society by 2025 but he added that there are many issues that need to be tackled in the meantime. 

They aim to make changes to the packaging of cigarettes because they feel that they target Irish youth. 

 Many changes are also underway to expand the current smoking ban.

 The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland is lobbying for legislation that prevents people from smoking in cars when children are present. They are also calling for publicly funded institutions to become smoke free (these include hospitals and college campuses). 

Yesterday, Minister James Reilly announced that the legislation to prevent adults from smoking in cars when children are present should be ready within a matter of weeks. 

During a seminar at The Royal College of Physicians, he addressed the fact that no one has the right to injure their child. 

“Who can possibly stand over a situation where there is a three year old strapped into a car while there is an adult puffing away at the front. It is obscene.”


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Many anti-tobacco groups such as Ash Ireland have also made recommendations for smoke free college campuses across the country.

 Last year  UCD voted in favour of a smoke free campus, by a 55% student majority.

 While smoke free campuses have long been common in the United States, we took to Irish universities to see if such a ban could be successful here;

 While some non-smokers agreed with the ban, “They shouldn’t be harming everyone else” and they believed that such a ban was ‘the way forward’. 

 Others stated that they felt that the ban might be ignored within a large open space where it could be hard to monitor. Other smokers also stated that they would ignore the ban and continue to smoke rather than walk away from campus due to ‘short breaks’ between classes. 

 Other students also suggested that the ban could lead to students missing classes rather than leave for a smoke and return. 

 One unanimous suggestion however was that ‘smoking designated areas’ could be introduced into colleges rather than banning the habit completely. 


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