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Last Updated: Monday, 5 April, 2004, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
Should smoking be banned in public places?
Pub-goers in Dublin enjoying their last cigarettes
A long-awaited ban on smoking in workplaces in the Irish Republic has come into force.

Proprietors now face fines of up to 3,000 euros ($3,650) if their customers are caught smoking in pubs, restaurants and other enclosed workplaces.

The new laws have been described by the Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern as "landmark legislation".

But publicans and others in the hospitality industry fear the regulations will damage custom and question whether they are enforceable.

Should smoking be banned in public places? How would such a ban affect the hospitality industry? Send us your comments and experiences.

This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of the opinions we have received:

I am a smoker but still think it's a good idea to ban it in public places, as it's a disgusting habit and I know from the times when I have 'given up' I've found it awful having to breath in other peoples' smoke. Let's smoke at home and whilst out in the parks but not where non smokers have to breathe it in too, it's just not fair on them.
Fi, UK

I live in California-ground zero on the anti-smoking trail. Several years ago smoking was banned in public places including bars and coffee shops. The owners complained loudly about the fear of going out of business if people could not smoke inside their establishments.

Apart from the negative health aspects, what about the vile mess these people leave on the streets
Nigel, The Netherlands

I was happy because I couldn't stand the smoke so stayed out of those places more than I would have liked to. Non-smokers get tobacco hangovers not to mention that morning-after tobacco smell coming from my clothes. Now, years later they are all doing just fine. No smoke and lots of business. I'm happy.
Dennis, USA

Reading the views of clearly pro-smoking advocates, particularly the rigid stance by Adrian UK, a clearly irked smoker, I have to say as a non-smoker, what difference does a "lack of hard scientific evidence" make in the smoking argument? Their "right" to smoke overrides my right to fresh air and not to damage my lungs by breathing in foul odours? I think not.

A non-smoker affects no one, but a single smoker in an enclosed space affects everyone there and imposes their reckless wishes on all regardless of whether they are smokers or not. In Australia a ban on smoking in public places (indoors) has been around for a while and the hoopla about lost business never eventuated. In fact many places, especially eateries, have reported an increase in patronage, smokers and non-smokers alike.

I think such short sighted views as those who demand to smoke regardless of the wishes of others shows that a regulation to control this vile habit in public places is sorely needed to protect those who wish to avoid smoke. You certainly don't need a scientist to conclusively prove that taking smoke into your respiratory system is not a safe and smart thing to do.
Andrew Stamford, Australia

I just think that the whole concept of smoking is anti-social. Apart from the negative health aspects, what about the vile mess these people leave on the streets. Has anyone seen a smoker pick-up their ash and cigarette ends and place them in a litter bin? They really equate to habitual litterers. Also, do smokers really know what they smell like? I was on a bus this morning and a young girl sat next to me. Her clothes reaked of smoke and it was compounded by her trying to disguise it with perfume. I had to move.
Nigel, The Netherlands

YAWN. All this actually shows is what a selfish lot both camps are. And the word 'fact' seems to be bandied about these pages an awful lot in relation to people's ill informed opinions. What an arrogant bunch you all are.
Jason, UK

Why are non-smokers so afraid of giving pubs the choice to become non-smoking places?
Mustafa Yorumcu, UK/Turkey

I think banning smoking is wrong. We are supposed to be living in a free democratic society. IF banning smoking in public places was enforced then that changes this country from being free country to one of dictatorship. My local pub has a no smoking area and it is always virtually empty whereas the smoking area is ALWAYS packed.

I think that speaks for itself. I for one will not be dictated to. IF this does become law I shall just stop using pubs restaurants altogether and eat and drink at home.
Mrs A Smithson, England

Yes of course ban it. Anything which is even possibly unpleasant has no place in our grey, politically correct, little country.
Steve, UK

I do not think that smoking should be banned from public places. As a smoker I enjoy smoking when I drink, it's all part and parcel of having a good night out! On average I pay about £3.64 tax on a £4.70 packet of cigarettes. Across the board this gave the government £8.1b last year from tobacco tax, and if smoking related diseases cost the NHS an estimated £2b a year, who is going to pay the £6.1b shortfall? I pay this extra tax so I should be able to smoke whenever and wherever I like. I tend to agree with the old addage of 'if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!'
Stuart, UK

Jeffrey, England. I believe they call these over-18 smoking clubs pubs, and why should your children be allowed in them. A pub is no place for children.
Rob, UK

Why are non-smokers so afraid of giving the choice to the pubs to become a non-smoking place? Fact: because they know their argument that pubs would be full of non-smoking customers is wishful thinking at best.
Mustafa Yorumcu, UK/Turkey

I'm a non-smoker and although I see the obvious health benefits of a smoking ban, I cannot see that it can be implemented. Instead we should concentrate on designated smoking and non smoking areas, which has been adopted already by some entertainment venues.

What really does wind me up is smokers whinging about their liberties being taken away. What about the liberties of non-smokers who have had no option but to endure passive smoking if we want to enjoy a night out. Let's get the balance right and make the night comfortable and enjoyable for all, simply by having designated areas. That way we all have the choice. Simple!
Chris Butler, England

It is not conclusively proven that passive smoking poses a significant health risk to others
Adrian, UK

To those of you who are quoting the "FACTS" about taxes have you ever seen the actual numbers behind it? The NHS spends less on smoking related diseases than the government makes in duty taxes. The numbers that make this "FACT" are that the government receives £7 b a year in duty and the cost to the NHS is £1.5b.

That's just duty, on top of that three very large tobacco manufacturers operate out of the UK so the government gets business-related taxes from them as well. Also, the suppliers to those companies get taxed which equals more government money. So in reality banning smoking and reducing the £1.5b cost to the NHS will not justify a ban. Are you going to tell all the people that work for the above mentioned companies that they're out of a job when the companies move abroad? Are you going to fill the gap in government revenue? I think not! FACE THE REAL ECONOMIC FACTS OF THE SITUATION.
Adrian, UK

Just out of interest, has anyone seen the science behind passive smoking? It is not conclusively proven that passive smoking poses a significant health risk to others, and the scientific community is still split on the issue. I think I need to draw peoples' attention to the 1998 World Health Organisations (WHO) seven year study on passive smoking, the biggest study of its kind, that found no significant link between an increased risk of lung cancer and passive smoking.

Until the scientific community provides some real answers bans will affect the individual smoker's right to smoke, and not pose a significant threat to public health. This information is in the public domain but you don't hear of it because the anti-smoking lobby groups try to hide it.

As a final point, there are products out there that produce less environmental smoke, particularly popular in Japan, but in the UK tobacco companies cannot advertise so these products are not brought in, as there is no way of informing the public. How can a 'safer' cigarette be sold if you can't publicise its existence?
Adrian, UK

I cannot see this hurting the entertainment industry. I am a non smoker and definitely a drinker, but leave the pub when the smoke becomes intolerable. By the way the no smoking areas of my locals are typically full and I typically have to wait for a non smoking table to become free rather than go to the smoking section. It looks to me as if change is already in the air.
Joanne, England

At least give us smokers a place we know we can smoke our cigar in peace!
Harmanis, UK

It's fairly simple, places that don't allow me to smoke don't get my custom and therefore my money. Non-smokers: what's with all these comments like 'I don't understand why people smoke', 'disgusting habit' etc? I disdain whingers but don't want a law to ban them even though they make my life a misery every time I leave my door or read a paper. 'Be healthy' - what for? I don't have the time nor inclination to exercise or eat healthily but it is my choice. Come into my pub and tell me not to smoke and you'll be going the opposite direction very quickly.
Graham, UK

This is an excellent move! We don't allow other drug users to ply their 'recreation' in public so no way should the smokers who contaminate everyone else's body be allowed!
Moo, London, UK

At least give us smokers a place we know we can smoke our cigar in peace! We are not sick or anything, just enjoying our beer with some tar in it.
Harmanis, UK

I believe that smoking should be banned in public places. I have been to California, where it is banned, and it felt great to come back after a night out and for my clothes not to smell of smoke!
Andrew, Walthamstow, London

Although taking strong objection to the McDonaldization of the world, I have to admit I have found one good that Starbucks has done to Japan: nonsmokers have found a cosy place to enjoy coffee, without smoke.
Rintaro, Japan

Are fat people to be banned from public places next to encourage them to lose weight? This country is getting ridiculous, the obvious answer is to have a mixture of smoking and non-smoking pubs and restaurants to suit all tastes.
Jon Perrin, UK

How much do factories get fined for having chimney stacks that pump out billions of cigarettes worth of toxins in a day? What about petrol and car companies, and their toxic by-products? And the average person is fined for smoking in public?
Michal Zlotkowski, New Zealand

"If banning smoking is such a popular choice, why is it that in every high street pub today the no smoking areas are either completely empty or have just a couple of people in. If there is that much support for a ban, then these areas would be fit to bursting." Louise, England.

A smoking area in a pub/restaurant is like a peeing section in a pool
Ruth Jacobs, UK

Here's why, love: because the nature of smoke is that it drifts. A smoking area in a pub/restaurant is like a peeing section in a pool - it's just pointless. Smoking spoils the taste of a meal, and as much as I care not a whit that smokers' food tastes rubbish, I do care that the meal I spend good money on isn't ruined by some inconsiderate buffoon's addiction.
Ruth Jacobs, UK

Bring on a ban in all public places for smoking - I cannot go into a pub at the moment due to the smoke, I find it hard to breath, it gives me headaches and I feel sick. It is the same when staff around shops smoke around the entrance. I avoid going into the shops if staff are smoking outside.
Martyn, England

The nature of smoke is that it drifts. A smoking area in a pub/restaurant is like a peeing section in a pool - it's just pointless. Smoking spoils the taste of a meal, and as much as I care not a whit that smokers' food tastes rubbish, I do care that the meal I spend good money on isn't ruined by some inconsiderate buffoon's addiction.
Ruth Jacobs, UK

I am the son of a smoker, and at work as a teenager went to sales meetings where people smoked. I have never felt well and I am sure it is due to the smoke I had to endure at home and at work. I am 50 now and smoke free in every way but the legacy has remained with me. Ban smoking everywhere.
John, New Zealand

Some facts: A pub (short for "public house") is not a private place unless there's a charge for entry (at which point it becomes a club). Tax revenue from cigarettes does NOT benefit the country more than the cigarette-related illnesses cost the country. Less smokers means better health care and MORE money for the govt.

Yes, cars pollute too. Europe is constantly tightening the emission limits for cars. People don't give out about that, do they? Smokers have no God-given right to smoke. Paying taxes is not a licence to do whatever you want. I pay taxes for my car, but I'm not allowed to drive just anywhere I like, am I? There are rules.

I don't wish to breathe in the same smoke as a smoker and I certainly don't like the smell of my hair and clothes after being in a pub!
Sarah Phillips, West Midlands

Alcohol is also damaging to your health. However, sitting beside someone having a pint will not endanger MY health. Big difference. Most smokers WANT to give up and can't. Maybe this will help them. All in all, I can't see the logic behind people defending people's "right" to smoke. Life moves on. Get used to it. And stay healthy :)
Shane O'Neill, Ireland

Quote: 'Where is the government going to get the short-fall in tax from?' Answer: from the billions they'll save every year on NHS care for smoke-related illness. Fact.
Martin, UK

I think every member of the general public should be made to smoke huge cuban cigars or a pipe, even women and small children. People should be fined if they are caught NOT smoking in public and the government should subsidise the whole lot. Now that's what I call equality!
Matt Evans, Ashford, Middx

It would be nice to see a complete ban, however, I think a better option would be to ban smoking in any public place that allows in children. Adults can make their own choice. Alternatively allow private smoking clubs for over 18s only, and ban smoking everywhere else outside of ones' own home.
Jeffrey, England

I don't wish to breathe in the same smoke as a smoker and I certainly don't like the smell of my hair and clothes after being in a pub! It's a disgusting habit, I can't understand why people do it, they are filling their lungs with tar!
Sarah Phillips, West Midlands

Imagine the mess outside pubs if we ban it. We are bad for litter as it is, this will increase litter tenfold.
Steve, UK

I'm a long-time non-smoker, but I'm against this ban. Once they have sorted out the smokers, we drinkers will be next. As to the suggestion that more non-smokers will use pubs, this is pure fantasy - these are people whose idea of a wild night is watching "Big Brother" with a small glass of sherry.
John Rogers, England

This topic was suggested by Rob Simpson, UK:
What do you think of the smoking ban in Ireland?

Well done to the Irish, a very brave and a necessary law. No smoker has the right to deprive anyone the right to breathe clean fresh air, just as I wish the non smokers should have the right to opt out of paying for treatment provided by the NHS for smoking related illness. Less smoking would obviously lead to a healthier society where monies currently spent on treating smoking related illness could be spent on more deserving areas within the NHS.
Robert, England

If I went to a public place and punched someone, I would be arrested for it. Yet I can go to a public place and have my lungs damaged by someone else's smoke and they get away with it. Where's the sense?
James Hardaker, England

I agree with the ban to some extent i.e. all travel services and even restaurants... but the pub? You have got to be joking. In most working class areas they'll all have to close down as no-one would go in.
Gordon, Scotland

This insane march of political correctness and banning of anything in the least bit offensive to people who can shout loudly into political ears must stop. I am a non-smoker, I have friends who are smokers. I don't ask them to stop smoking in my presence, it's their right to smoke.
Alex Flowers, UK

You cannot 'ask' people not to smoke, it simply doesn't work. My local shopping centre is a prime example. Smokers know the requests not to smoke are not binding. Legislation is the only way.
Robbo, England

Initially I was very anti a ban in pubs and bars as a social smoker myself. But as this will force me to go outside for a cigarette, it will inevitably mean I smoke far less on a night out - no bad thing for my health. Still, if we all start buying fewer cigarettes, where is the government going to get the short-fall in tax from?
Chris Alden, Oxford, UK

Bars and restaurants in New York have seen up to a 40% drop in takings
Al, UK
Supporters of a smoking ban say this will improve business for the hospitality industry. But if the New York experience is anything to go by this is not true. Bars and restaurants in New York have seen up to a 40% drop in takings. Some establishments have had to lay staff off, others have closed. Surveys commissioned by anti smoking groups might show that more non smokers will go to bars and restaurants if a smoking ban is introduced. But every survey of people actually working in New York bars and restaurants reveal that this hasn't happened in practice. How happy will non-smokers be when their local closes due to lack of custom? Better a smoky pub than no pub.
Al, UK

I am a non-smoker, but I am not in favour of a ban in pubs, landlords should be allowed to choose. I think that a ban should be enforced in certain public areas such as train platforms. If I do not want to inhale others' smoke, I can choose not to go to a pub, but I have no choice of commute home from work.
Dan, London, UK

The emotive and vindictive approach of some non-smokers is rather alarming. Which 'minority' will be next on the PC hit list? Fitness tests in hospitals perhaps? Fail to look after yourself, and lose priority on a waiting list? Lets all be a little more tolerant of the other person's human failings. I smoke a pipe, and for a number of years I have smoked outside. Even in Winter, I have come to enjoy it. I now never go in a pub or cafe which does not have an outside area.
Phil, Cumbria, UK

It's a change in the right direction for employees and for society as a whole
Nia Hughes-Witcomb, Wales, UK
Apart from making it a far more pleasant atmosphere in which to socialise and giving non smokers the right they deserve, the hospitality industry will not suffer long term. If it becomes law, there is no choice and smokers will adapt. It's a change in the right direction for employees and for society as a whole.
Nia Hughes-Witcomb, Wales, UK

I lived in San Diego when a no-smoking ban was being introduced to all bars and public places. There was already a ban on smoking in restaurants, unless outdoors, in place. The first bar to open up as a no-smoking bar was always packed. They provided a covered area outside with heaters for those people who wanted/needed to smoke. There was nothing to stop smokers staying in the smoking area if they chose to, as in Southern California it wasn't the coldest of places. But, apart from getting their nicotine fix the addicts always chose to leave and go back into the no-smoking area.
Philip, Scotland

Smokers say that a ban would reduce attendance at pubs and restaurants. But where would all these smokers be instead? Home alone with their fags? I think not. No, they'll just finally have the impetus to give up and realise what a dark cloud they've been under - literally.
Paul Schooling, London, UK

I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one. As a social smoker, I believe it is my right to relax in a pub with a pint and a cigarette and I don't like the idea of that right being taken away from me. However if a ban is introduced, I think there's a much better chance I'll eventually stop completely.
Colin Sutherland, Glasgow, Scotland

Smokers contribute so much tax towards government coffers, much more than they take out in health care. Surely they should be allowed a corner to smoke if they wish? If this succeeds and eventually stops all smokers, who will pay the tax they currently contribute? We wouldn't put a dog out in the cold and rain but we will put high tax paying smokers out!
Steve Yardley, UK

Absolutely right! Hopefully the UK will follow! Sadly I live in Ukraine where the choice of tables in a restaurant is 'smoking' or 'chain smoking'? Perhaps if Europe follows Ireland then Ukraine will also follow suit!
A. Wright, Ukraine

Why has no one developed a decent air filtration system to get rid of smoky air for the benefit of everybody, whilst still retaining peoples' right to smoke? The government surely could make pubs and public places use air filtration systems subsidised by the extortionate amount of tax that smokers pay on each packet! Then the only form of pollution we have to worry about is that of traffic rather than cigarette smoke...
Kelly, Britain

I am a smoker and I think a ban like this would help me at least cut down because of the hassle of going outside for a cigarette.
Antony Clarke, England

A ban in "pubs" needs to be introduced, but I feel that anywhere with a late licence such as pubs and private clubs, should be allowed to permit smoking as most of these enforce an admittance fee so their clients are unable to walk outside for a smoke. In time it will become as antisocial as smoking on a bus, or in the cinema to smoke in public so a partial ban now would suffice.
Paul Gibson, Newcastle

Everyone I have spoken to here about the ban seems to be quite positive in regards to it. Many are taking the opportunity to give up today also which is really great. I am, for once, proud to live in a country which is leading the way in Europe with positive health legislation.
David Caviston, Dublin, Ireland

We need to define 'workplace'. If someone employs a cleaner does that make their home a workplace? Or a builder, or any other tradesman? We need to think carefully about this kind of legislation and not interfere with a person's freedom unless absolutely necessary. I'm an ex-smoker but that doesn't give me the right to impose that decision upon others. We all have choices, let's keep it like that and not allow governments to dictate what is best for us.
Bill, UK

I don't see why the government should dictate when and where I can smoke cigarettes
Tracy Thompson, UK
As a social smoker, the only time I smoke is when in a pub having a drink or after having a meal in a restaurant. As I am so heavily taxed on the cigarettes I buy I don't see why the government should then dictate when and where I can smoke them. I do agree with having designated non-smoking areas in bars/restaurants and of course respect these. Often if I am not smoking, I will frequent these myself. I believe that the hospitality industry would suffer, why would I want to go out for a drink/meal knowing that I would have to stand outside if I wanted to light up? I can remain in the comfort of my own home and smoke at my leisure, plus I wouldn't have the outlay of and expensive meal and over-priced beer.
Tracy Thompson, UK

Allowing places to choose whether or not to ban smoking won't work, because with only a small number of places doing it, profits will suffer. However, with a blanket ban people will still go to the same places to eat and drink and profits will remain the same. I would fully welcome a ban on smoking, I hate going out for the evening and coming back smelling of other people's smoke.
Emma, UK

I seem to remember years ago that most public houses had two separate bars, one public and the other known as the "snug". Maybe this should be re-introduced as a smoking and non smoking areas. The same applies for restaurants. I do enjoy smoking when I am in a pub but not when I am in a restaurant, so either way I believe we should have a choice.
Lucy Taylor, England

There is now ample evidence from cities in Canada and the US who have implemented such a ban and have not seen a collapse of their bars and restaurant industries. As I object to smelling like an ashtray I personally spend far less time in pubs now than I would do if there was a ban. I am sure many other non-smokers feel the same way and would actually spend more time and money in smoke-free bars.
Roger, UK

If smokers cannot consider others, then a ban may well be the only way forward
Sean, Wales

If separate smoking/non-smoking areas were proved to be working, there would probably not be the clamour for a total ban. As it is, as a non-smoker I have lost count of the times I have sat in a supposedly smoke-free zone in a pub or restaurant, only to have somebody light up on the next table. If you ask them to stop, you simply get abuse. If smokers cannot consider others, then a ban may well be the only way forward.
Sean, Wales

I am quite sure that all those against smoking all drive cars which in fact pollute the atmosphere far more than smoking does. Petrol fumes (and diesel in particular) are far more of a health hazard. There was a restaurant in London who decided to ban smoking only a couple of weeks ago only to find that, in one week, they were £21,000 down in revenue. What does that tell you?
Louise Wright, UK

I think it's unfair. Just because people smoke shouldn't mean they are treated any different from everyone else. Pubs should have non smoking areas where people can go and sit if they don't smoke.
Emma , England

A bit worrying this one. The difference between the UK and other countries is that the incredibly high taxes imposed on a packet of cigarettes, go a very long way towards funding the NHS. If we stop everyone from smoking, then where are the billions of pounds going to come from?
Caroline, UK

Tell me simply. Does this not mean I have a right to demand not being poisoned by traffic fumes also or is this simply double standards aimed at smokers?
Gary Head, UK

If banning smoking is such a popular choice, why is it that in every high street pub today the no smoking areas are either completely empty or have just a couple of people in. If there is that much support for a ban, then these areas would be fit to bursting.
Louise, England

It would be better to insist on better ventilation
Colin, UK
I am anti smoking, but I don't agree with banning smoking in pubs. It would be better to insist on better ventilation or a return of the 'Smoking Room' that all pubs used to have.
Colin, UK

With many pubs becoming 'kid friendly' and offering food, it makes sense to ban smoking now
Mike, England

Well done Ireland for banning smoking. My sons stink our house out with their stinking clothes because they go out to pubs and clubs. Goodness knows what it is doing to their lungs.
Veronica Sibley, UK

Ban it. So many restaurants and bars would do so much better if they became 100% non-smoking.
Paul Gregory, UK

I think a majority of people in the UK would approve this. But the government has been heavy handed over the introduction. Underlying all of this is the uncertainty of where the amount of restrictions on daily lives will end.
Rod Aries, Glasgow, Scotland

To those that oppose an outright ban, why on earth should exposing other people to 50 odd known carcinogens be considered optional? Assault is a crime isn't it?
Eccles, Bristol, UK

Congratulations to the Irish authorities for the introduction of the ban. 'The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few!' Let's see the British Government make this same positive statement about the health of the nation.
James Mackay, England

Traffic pollution is far worse for you
Ken Hall, UK
As a non-smoker, I believe that smoking should not be banned in public places. Especially not outdoors. Traffic pollution is far worse for you. Would you rather spend five hours in an enclosed room with four chain smokers? Or with a car with its engine running? Now how many smokers do you see outdoors compared with how many cars?
Ken Hall, UK

I am a smoker. But I would love to see a ban on smoking in the UK. It's about time the government did something to help keep us Brits healthy. A ban would help me stop smoking. And save non-smokers from putting up with me.
Louise, Dundee, Scotland

Most modern pubs these days have very good ventilation not like the 50's and 60's.If the government did impose a ban, many people would give up smoking then the whiners would have something else to moan about - the increased taxes to compensate the shortfall in revenue.
Steve, UK

Non-smoking in restaurants and pubs must mean non-smoking, and not just a screen between the two areas which still allows the smoke to travel across. I abhor the filthy and killer habit that is smoking, but if people want to kill themselves, let them!

As an Irish woman living in England, I think there should be separate areas for smoking. As a smoker I am well aware of how expensive and bad for my health my habit is. However, I choose to do it as I enjoy it and I resent this totalitarian approach governments have to our lives. I will be less looking forward to my holidays back home as the best times are having a drink in the pub with my friends and enjoying a cigarette!!!!!
Corrina, England

There are definite niches for non-smoking pubs, but few of us would survive with a compulsory ban. Anyone who owns a pub knows this. I'm all for self-regulation but everyone needs to pull their weight rather than just some of us. And it's a known fact and statistic (ask any licensee!) that non-smokers aren't pub regulars (nothing to do with a smoky atmosphere). And we know this won't change - non-smoking customers may marginally increase at first but not for long and the effect on overall business will be catastrophic. How I wish I were exaggerating.
Mr Bannerman, England

Yes. Ban smoking in public places especially restaurants or where children are. I'm a smoker myself and enjoy a cigarette with my pint, but I have found if I am not reminded of smoking (i.e. I go for a day out without my cigarettes and no-one is smoking around me) I have no problems going for a while without a ciggie. It's a case of "out of sight, out of mind". But I can imagine it being a struggle in a pub for me at first. It would probably encourage me to give up.
Chris, UK

I have no problem with bans in the workplace and restaurants, but banning it in the pub is too much. If the government doesn't want people to smoke, I would rather they just make it illegal. At least then I would be forced to give it up rather than gradually being marginalised within society.
Simon, UK

As long as I don't have to breathe the smoke, I see no problem
Andrew, UK

First I am a non-smoker and dislike the smell of smoke as much as the next non-smoker. However I believe more in non-discrimination so I don't support a public ban on smoking. Designated well-ventilated areas for smokers in bars, restaurants and other public places I think, would be far more suitable and supported. As long as I don't have to breathe the smoke, I see no problem.
Andrew, UK

I find it amusing how many smokers use the excuse "We still want the choice". What about the non-smokers that have to breathe in your smoke? You are not giving them any choice at all. If you want to kill yourself, by all means do but don't inflict it on others.
Stephen Ash, Wales

Yes ban smoking in PUBLIC places like train stations, parks and the street. A Pub is a private place, let the landlord decide. I'll choose the non-smoking pub and restaurant anytime, I can't choose to avoid the selfish smoker walking the same way along the pavement with me.
Paul Weaver, London, UK

The production of tobacco should be banned!
Joso, Cameroon

The production/processing of tobacco should be banned! Then lets see how economies will function, they need money from these companies yet they discourage people from buying! What a world!!
Joso, Cameroon

Well done Ireland! You can count on me and my family holidaying there this year. It will be a pleasure to go into pubs and restaurants without coming out smelling of old stale smoke. Let's hope it comes over here very soon as well.
Penny Coleman, Wales

I can understand banning smoking where food is served but a blanket ban is irrational and unnecessary. UK pubs and bars have a culture all of their own, so lumping them in with other public places is misleading. I don't smoke but some friends and family do and I don't want them alienated because of a legal habit.
Flo, England

I would visit pubs and restaurants more often, if the air was clean and I didn't end up smelling like an ash tray.
Tony Jordan, UK

What a blast of fresh air! Just a pity that our Government hasn't listened and applied similar legislation. Then again, they wouldn't encourage anything that interfered with them not receiving their taxes would they?
Ken Jones, United Kingdom

Yeah! And while they're at it they can ban cars, lorries, trains, planes, motorcycles, and buses in public places. Cigarette smoke is puny compared to the filth that vehicles pump out. Nobody gets on their high-horse about that do they!
Geoff, UK

Well done, Ireland!!
Mohammad Jamil, UK

Well done, Ireland!! I very much doubt the British government will have the guts to follow suit. I do not have any problem with people smoking as long it does not affect me. When I take my family for a meal in a restaurant or a nice Pub lunch on Sunday, the last thing I want is my meal spoilt by the smell of stale tobacco and my clothes going in wash as soon as I get home. People who say it should be a consumer choice; come off it, since when has a voluntary code worked?
Mohammad Jamil, UK

I think that the ban is great but can't help thinking that there will be masses of people standing outside the pub with their pints smoking away, in a similar way to smokers getting 4 or 5 breaks during the day to stand outside our non smoking office.
Brian, Scotland

I like to go out for a drink with friends, but often can't get them to because they don't want to reek of smoke. Bring on the ban, it will be good for business.
Anna, UK

Can you recall when smoking in cinemas was stopped, and the outcry from owners over lost trade. Would anyone like to see it reversed? Of course not. Smoking is (and has always been), a dirty, unhealthy, and anti- social habit.
Chris Coates, Australia

Choice is very important in this matter
Pedros Martinez, Peru

Choice is very important in this matter. Bars and pubs damage people's health by also serving alcohol, many to excess. So why can't people choose, they can go to a smoky bar or a clean air bar. Your choice.
Pedros Martinez, Peru

Smoking should absolutely be banned in all public places. I find it incredible that the world hasn't followed Bloomberg's example already. How long do we have to put up with it??
Deborah, Spain

There is a no smoking pub near where I work in the City. Contrary to everything the smokers say, it is busy all day, an excellent place to drink and I don't smell like an ashtray afterwards. It is about time that these weak willed fools stop dictating to the rest of us and are left outside in the cold and rain to carry on their sad little addiction! Roll on a smoking ban in ALL public places in London!
Vish, UK

Every leisure venue is someone's workplace and no-one should be forced to breathe someone else's smoke to have a job. We wouldn't be having a debate if this was asbestos. Well done on the Irish for taking a stand.
Phil, England

Yes, but only if smokers' clubs are allowed, or pubs can declare themselves as smoker friendly. As someone who has worked in pubs I accept the environment and its hazards, violent drunks et al. Another option would be to say pubs must meet a certain standard to allow smoking and non-smoking areas. If they don't they would have to be non-smoking.
David R, Plymouth, UK

The Government wants to have its cake and eat it - if they really want to stop smoking why not completely ban tobacco? We all know the answer to that - the tax from tobacco sales is a huge boon to the coffers. I'm a smoker and would prefer to see a complete ban, rather then these hollow gestures from the government, whilst they're using people's addiction to swell the treasury!
Luke, London

I fear that such a decision might be an incentive for the underworld to implement illegal smoking pubs and restaurants. Just look at the consequences of prohibition in the US in the twenties. So, it would be better to allow smoking pubs and restaurants under legal licences.
Chadi Bou Habib, Lebanon

Compromise should be the order of the day
Jeff, Ireland
I work in a bar and I am curious to hear what a bartender is supposed to do when caught in a situation where a regular customer 'refuses' to put out a cigarette. People can be a little unreasonable after a little alcohol especially if they disagree with this law. Should the police be called to intervene thereby assuredly ridding the pub of any future custom from this individual(s) - or are the staff supposed to physically enforce this law on behalf of the safely-distanced civil servants who thought it up? This is ridiculously unenforceable!!! The bar staff may gain on the health front but lose on every other including employment. In an already extremely difficult job this is the last thing we need - compromise should be the order of the day.
Jeff, Ireland

One of the few decent things that Fianna Fáil has ever done. It is estimated that about 70% of the Irish population does not smoke, so why should we let the other 30% possibly harm our health? I am fed up of having to stink of fag smoke when I go out, and I'm looking forward to being able to breathe again with a decent pint!
David, Ireland

The "ban it" brigade is more about imposing their will on others than any coherent argument. I am a smoker and about 60% of the people who use my local are too. No we won't go outside and there aren't a large number of non-smokers waiting to replace us in the pub. The pub will close. I withhold my money from anti-smoking businesses. I don't go to the cinema, I never use public transport and now I won't be going out for a drink or a meal. Welcome to apartheid Britain.
Stephen, UK

I don't smoke and hate smelling of cigarettes but banning smoking in public places is a worrying sign. These people are not 'lepers', they buy their cigarettes, pay tax on them and are entitled to smoke them too! I agree with designated areas in pubs and restaurants like there are in trains etc but a 'ban' is far too Big Brother for me!
Jim Pennington, UK

I have just got back from New York. It is the first time I have been since the ban. New York still rocks and so will London. A complete ban will be great. This is not a health issue, It is a rights issue. I don't smoke, your freedom to smoke impinges on my health by the act itself. That's not fair. Do it in your own space, not public space.
Deep, London, UK

I come from a city in Canada that introduced similar legislation in 1999. The vast majority of the population supported the new law and research shows that the hospitality industry in that city has benefited. I think the law worked in this city because there was already a dominant 'health conscious' culture in place that saw the 'rights' of smokers as harmful to the majority of the population who did want to put up with smokers and their smelly harmful smoke anymore.
M., Canada/UK

It should be against human rights to ban smoking. It is my choice to smoke, WHY should people tell us were we can and can not do this
Richard Hope, UK

What most people are missing is the fact that employees of bars and restaurants have to work in environments that could severely damage their health. This is not allowed in any other employment sector, why therefore should these staff be put at risk just to earn a living?
Ken, Scotland

I went to Belfast this weekend and had a smashing time on a stag do. Now this ban is in place in Dublin I suspect Belfast will reap the profits of such party trips, when smokers make up members of such parties. I certainly won't be visiting either Dublin or New York any time soon as I smoke. Pubs should be given the choice whether to allow smoking and I'm sure smokers would then be happy to abide by the decision.
Chris King, Islington

Hurrah! I think I'll be off to Dublin for a lovely smoke-free weekend!
Huge, London, England

There is simply no justification for the rights of a minority to dictate to those of the majority
Reg Pither, England
It is inevitable that, within a couple of generations, smoking will all but disappear, so let's start things moving as soon as possible. Three quarters of the population don't smoke, so there is simply no justification for the rights of a minority to dictate to those of the majority. 'The greatest good of the greatest number' is the overriding principle of any democracy, so let's do what we can to ban this selfish, harmful and pointless habit.
Reg Pither, England

Many people have their first cigarette in places like pubs and bars because the people they are with are smoking, and there is some kind of implicit social or peer pressure to do so. A total ban on smoking in public places could not only make our public places cleaner and more pleasant but also limit the number of people taking up this unfortunate habit in the first place.
Anna, Cambridge, UK

Whilst I would find it easier to quit smoking if there were a ban, I find the notion of a ban objectionable. If the anti-smoking lobby are convinced of the merit of non-smoking bars, why can't bars do so voluntarily and if they make a huge profit others can follow suit? If this is down to purely health reasons, then why isn't alcohol being banned also? If, as others claim, it is down to freedom for non-smokers having to endure smokers intruding on their air and comfort, can we also apply the same ruling to those who intrude on my space and enjoyment when talking nonsense within my hearing range?
N. Hawkins, UK

My sister and I had planned a month long trip this year to the Old Country to visit our late father's grave. We will visit Northern Ireland instead and a make a brief visit to Limerick to pay our respects. Needless to say we are both smokers.
Teresa Nicholson, Hong Kong

As a lifelong non-smoker who feels sick when I have to breathe tobacco smoke, I shall be delighted to visit Ireland again and this time enjoy the local brew without the stink of smoke. I wish the UK would follow suit - and the sooner the better.
June, England

I think it's outrageous that there is a ban in Ireland, soon it will be in the UK.
If you don't like a bar's policy, go to a different one
Chris Moss, Sheffield, UK
Despite being an asthmatic, I'm firmly against a ban on smoking in pubs, restaurants or bars. The decision on whether to allow smoking should be up to the proprietor. If you don't like a bar's policy, go to a different one.
Chris Moss, Sheffield, UK

Being a smoker myself I am always careful and respectful to non-smokers. A pub or restaurant is a place smokers go to chill, not to be scared of reprisal and the fear of paying a heavy fine. The government bought cigarettes into the country in the first place, and make a large amount of money from tax on tobacco. I feel that to take away smoking in public places takes away our civil liberty to do so.
Mr Kerry Booth, Nottingham, England

I would imagine this would be good for the hospitality industry. I would certainly go back into restaurants and clubs again. Who wants their food and clothes ruined by filthy cigarette smoke?
Mark, UK

A ban definitely should be introduced as soon as possible. It will assist smokers who want to quit and discourage non-smokers from taking up the habit. In addition, contrary to what the hospitality industry fears, its business would increase (as opposed to decreasing) because more people who would otherwise have stayed away from restaurants, bars etc, will now be able to go. This has proven to be the case in every place where a ban has been tried. Why should the UK be any different?

Wouldn't it make more sense to allow pubs and restaurants to choose whether they are smoking or non-smoking, with clear signs to this effect? That way it would be possible to prove whether there is any effect on profits, and if, in fact, the non-smoking places are doing better.
Jacqui, UK

I've recently come back from a weekend in Dublin where my girlfriend lives. I am really encouraged to hear that the Republic of Ireland is introducing a smoking in public places ban. I don't smoke - many of my friends do. I don't think less of them (but I wish for their sakes they would quit). I personally hate it when others smoke around me as it makes me feel ill and gives me a sore throat. I think this ban should be imposed in Britain.
Luke, Huddersfield, UK

I am waiting for the first ban on alcohol to be introduced
L. Randall, England
There should be a section of public houses that are allowed to continue to allow smoking if they feel in would be to their economic benefit. I am waiting for the first ban on alcohol to be introduced. I agree that smoking is harmful in the long term, but not as harmful to all sectors of society as abuse of drinking is.
L. Randall, England

Regardless of the pros and cons of a smoking ban, a 3000 euro penalty against proprietors for something that can never be entirely in their control is nothing short of draconian. Add to this the fact that such an emotive issue is perfect for over zealous and self-righteous monitoring. A little perspective is going to be needed to maintain the credibility of the purpose behind this ban.
Paul B, Oxford, UK

The smoking ban is only a couple of hours old here but already we are not looking through a fog anymore. Next we'll get rid of Bertie.
Brendan Keegan, Dublin, Ireland.

Smoking should be banned in all public places. I hate stinking of smoke after a night out. Personally I would go out for a meal or a drink more often if I didn't have to suffer my clothes and hair smelling like an ashtray. I won't be the only person who thinks this way so it will not affect the hospitality industry a great deal.
Amanda, England

I spent St Patrick's Day in NY and had a really good time drinking with the Irish in a smoke free bar. Spent a few hours in a bar in London the following week and my clothes stank of stale smoke. All clothes went into the washing machine and I went into the shower to get rid of the stench. People are used to smoking outside the workplace, they will soon get used to smoking outside restaurants and bars. Ban it now!
Alan, UK

I'd love to contribute but I've got to stand outside my building and have a fag break.
Michael, London

The dictatorial way this has been done is unbelievable. No referendum, no consultation. Of course, smoking's bad for you, but many people just have a couple of cigarettes with a drink at weekends, and don't smoke at other times. This is yet another example of the way governments and the dictators of Brussels are taking over our lives. Incidentally, I gave up smoking some time ago, but would still defend people's right to poison themselves with the weed!
Sue Hudson, London, UK

Smoking should be a 'courtesy of choice' in public areas. Even how disgusting smoking may be, smokers should not be punished by these bans. Look at what happened to NYC after bans were implemented.
Herbert, London, UK

I think this should be a consumer decision
Wendy, UK
If there was a ban, I think in time we'd get used to it, as we have done with cinemas, the underground, some restaurants etc. However, in terms of bars and pubs I'm not in favour of a blanket ban (even though I hate smoky places): I think this should be a consumer decision.
Wendy, UK

I am a smoker, but I don't feel I have the right to force others to endure harmful air pollution resulting from my choice of activities. This is an inevitable step for society to take. Governments should be looking to transfer the tobacco tax burden elsewhere, in order to enable a ban on the sale of tobacco.
Chas Knight, UK

I would like to see legislation requiring adequate ventilation and larger non-smoking areas, as I would like to be able to go out for a meal or a drink of an evening without stinking of stale smoke when I arrive home. I do think an outright ban on smoking is excessive, simply because for as long as tobacco is legal to possess and legal to use it is inappropriate to ban its use. Late-night violence in town centres is generally not caused by people having a couple of cigarettes too many.
John B, UK

I totally agree with a ban in public places. In the vast majority of work places smoking is already banned. Why should bar/restaurant staff etc not be given the same protection.
James D, Birmingham, UK

Yes. I'm sick of smelling like an ash-tray and having my clothes burnt every time I have a night out!! And a message should be sent to young women that exercise should be used if they want to be slim, not smoking!!
Paul, Preston, UK

It's a shame they didn't go the whole hog and ban smoking in all public places enclosed or not. Every public green space is covered in discarded cigarette butts which makes using them a revolting experience. I sometimes wonder if smokers enjoy sitting in their own waste and filth?
Graham Smith, UK

Should smoking be banned in public places?
10862 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

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