Ireland bans smoking in pubs and restaurants
- By: Thomas MacMahon
Ireland will become the first country in the European Union to ban smoking in all pubs and restaurants when new regulations come into force on 29 April as part of a wider ban on smoking in the workplace.
Exemptions have been granted to prisons, nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals, and hotel bedrooms after extensive lobbying, but smoking rooms in all other workplaces, including hospitals, will have to close. A worker's only option will be to smoke outside.
The onus will then be on the manager or owner of the premises to ensure that it is smoke free. A fine of up to €3000 (£2000; $3700) and three months imprisonment could be imposed on those who break the law; the smoker can also be sanctioned.
Health organisations and trade unions representing more than a quarter of the population have welcomed the ban, including the Irish Medical Organisation and the Irish College of