On March 29, 2004 smoking was prohibited in all workplaces, including bars and restaurants. Prisons, nursing homes and psychiatric hospitals are exempt from legislation. However, all employers (even those who are exempt) are still free to enforce the legislation if they wish to. Further information, including a link to the Public Health (Tobacco) (Amendment) Act 2004, is available from the Office of Tobacco Control website, at: www.otc.ie/legislation_national.asp (new window)
Statistics on smokefree Ireland
98% of all indoor workers report that their work atmosphere was not smoky since the introduction of the smoke-free workplace law;
Since the introduction of the new law, 95% of those surveyed who visited a pub within the previous fortnight reported that the atmosphere was not smoky. The comparable figure before the smoke-free workplace law was 46%;
95% of all smokers surveyed who visited a pub within the previous fortnight either smoked outside or did not smoke at all. More than one in five smokers chose not to smoke at all when out socialising.
The data on the National Inspection Programme contained in the OTC’s 2005 Annual Report shows that 35,042 inspections were completed by Environmental Health Officers and national compliance levels have remained high, with 95% of premises inspected being compliant to the end of 2005.
During 2005, 38 prosecutions were taken for both signage offences and for permitting smoking in an enclosed workplace. Thirty two were in respect of licensed premises, four related to taxi companies, one was against a retail shop and one was against a member of the public for smoking in a specified place. Thirty seven of the cases were successful.
The OTC’s 2005 Annual Report also shows that in 2005, convictions were sought and secured against individual smokers as well as the occupier or other person in charge. Two cases related to smoking areas. In one, the entrance area to a car park was being used as a smoking area while in the other case a derelict squash court was used. Both were successfully prosecuted.
In relation to the lo-call compliance line, a total of 1,353 calls were made to the line during 2005. Call volumes have dropped considerably compared to the 2004 levels, a testament to the high levels of compliance with the law and the acceptance of the legislation among the general public. The proportion of complaints to the compliance line has increased, reflecting significantly less information requests and increased public understanding and familiarity with the legislation. Complaints accounted for 1,078 or 80% of the calls received compared to 60% the previous year. 71% of the calls (965) during 2005 were received in the first six months of the year.