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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 March, 2005, 06:13 GMT 07:13 UK
One year on for Irish smoking ban
Many publicans say they have lost trade
Many publicans say they have lost trade
The Irish Republic is marking the first anniversary of its pioneering ban on smoking in all public places.

Supporters say it has brought health benefits, but critics say more people are drinking and smoking at home.

Pubs and restaurants are covered by the ban. Many publicans say they have lost trade.

Earlier this month, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said more than 7,000 smokers had kicked the habit since the smoking ban was introduced.

Mr Ahern said it was clear the ban on workplace smoking was having a positive effect.

Since the end of March 2004, smoking has been illegal in workplaces, including pubs and restaurants in the Republic of Ireland.

It was the first country in the world to introduce such a nationwide ban.

'Smoking illegally'

Mr Ahern said it had proved a positive effect not only on the health of the nation, "but also on the functioning of our health services".

The government-backed smoking "quitline" has received more than 30,000 calls since it was set up 18 months ago, said the taoiseach.

Last year, a major drinks company blamed the smoking ban for a fall in the sales of Guinness.

Shares in Diageo, the world's biggest drinks company, fell by 4%.

Owners of pubs where people are caught smoking illegally by health inspectors enforcing the ban can be fined up to 3,000 euros (2,400).

Maura Gillespie of the British Heart Foundation urged Downing Street to introduce similar measures.

"The move has grown in popularity since its introduction, and seems to have proved easier to enforce than first anticipated," she said.

A smoking ban in all Northern Ireland government departments came into effect in January.

Many in Northern Ireland, particularly doctors and politicians, have called for a universal ban.


SEE ALSO:
7,000 Irish smokers kick habit
11 Mar 05 |  Europe
Smoking stubbed out by government
01 Jan 05 |  Northern Ireland
Ban sees cigarette sales slump
26 Nov 04 |  Northern Ireland
Smoking ban debate comes to NI
09 Jul 04 |  Northern Ireland


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