Press Release

Micheál Martin attends the launch of an Information Campaign prior to the commencement of Smoke-Free Workplace Legislation in Norway

The Minister for Health and Children, Micheál Martin T.D., today ( 25 May 04) spoke at the launch of Norway´s Information Campaign on Smoke-Free Workplaces at the University of Oslo, Norway. The information campaign is being conducted prior to the introduction on June 1st 2004 of measures to prohibit smoking in Norwegian bars and restaurants.

Sharing with the audience details of his experience in introducing the Smoke Free at Work Initiative in Ireland the Minister stated – “1st June 2004 will be a very significant date for all Norwegians, just as 29th March 2004 was an historic day for public health policy in Ireland. Adopting this far-reaching initiative in Norway is a positive, progressive health and safety measure, which will bestow benefits to workers and the general public alike.”

In Norway smoking will not be permitted in establishments that serve food and/or drink and that are equipped for consumption on the premises (restaurants, cafés, discos, bars, pubs and the like).

The new legislation builds on earlier legislation (1988) prohibiting smoking in public places and transportation with the exception of restaurants and bars. Smoking in these premises (restaurants and bars) was restricted to 33% of the premises in 1993 and 50% in 1998. The new law does not allow for any exemptions- all food and drink establishments are to be smoke-free.

“People in Ireland are adjusting to the smoke Free at Work Initiative, just as they did when cinemas, theatres, hairdressing salons, aircraft and numerous other settings went smoke-free in the past.”the Minister advised.

“Most people are law abiding and responsible and the vast majority of employers, employees and the public are respecting the new measure.”

” The response to date across all sectors in Ireland has been very positive with compliance at a very high level – well in excess of 90%. The successful introduction of the new measure reflects the widespread public support and goodwill that exists for a clean smoke-free environment in the workplace.”

The Minister offered his congratulations to the Norwegian Health Minister Mr Dagfinn Høybråten and the Norwegian Government on the launch of this information campaign in advance of their smoke-free at work initiative. “I´m sure that, like the Irish people, the Norwegian people will respond positively to this far-reaching public health measure.”

For further details and pictures please see the website – www.scanpix.no