Press Release

Micheál Martin TD Minister for Health and Children launches Office of Tobacco Control´s media campaign “Smoke-free Works”

Micheál Martin TD Minister for Health and Children today launched the Office of Tobacco Control´s media campaign “Smoke-free Works”. This campaign will reinforce the message about the dangers from exposure to second-hand smoke and will provide assistance and information in preparing for the 29th March. The campaign, by using a combination of television and radio ads, as well as a website, will show the harm caused by second-hand tobacco smoke, the date workplaces become smoke-free and highlight that “smoke-free works” for health. The emphasis of the campaign will be to build awareness of the impending legislation and to inform on the underlying health evidence for the measure.

Commenting Minister Martin said “Since the announcement that I would be introducing a ban on the smoking of tobacco products in the workplace just over a year ago, there has widespread support and acceptance of the need for this measure across all sectors. My primary concern now is to ensure that relevant, practical information and guidance are readily available and accessible to all those who will be implementing this significant new public health measure”.

“The material being made available by the Office of Tobacco Control will be helpful to all sectors, but particularly relevant to the hospitality sector and the licensed trade. The Office, in drawing up the guidelines, consulted with people in the trade to ensure that the material being supplied will be practical and relevant. Some in the trade have expressed concerns regarding the difficulties that may arise in the implementation of the measure. However, the approach we are taking will be a positive one with a view to assisting and guiding them in their responsibilities” Minister Martin said.

“There are still those in the tobacco industry, who, putting self-interest above public interest try to refute or play down the risk to health from exposure to second hand tobacco smoke. However, most people have made up their minds on the issue and rightly expect that Government will take the steps necessary to deal with the problem. Health and quality of life issues are important to people in their place of work. The bottom line is that regular exposure to second hand tobacco smoke, in enclosed workplaces, is a cause of ill health, which is actually preventable. Most people are law abiding and responsible and I am confident that the vast majority of employers, employees and the public will respect the new measure. The trade union movement is strongly supportive and I am encouraged by the willingness shown by employer´s organisations in the various sectors in recommending compliance with the new measure to their members”, Minister Martin said.

“I am confident that this measure will provide a health legacy, not just for current but also, for future generations who thankfully, will never know what it was like to work in an enclosed smoke-filled environment. Ensuring that workplaces are a clean, safe environment, free of tobacco smoke will make a significant contribution to the health and quality of life of our population and for future generations”, the Minister added.

Concluding the Minister also acknowledged the significant role that will be played by all staff in health boards and agencies operating in this area in ensuring the success of this national tobacco-free initiative and all of the pro-health partners who continue to work with my Department in supporting this measure fully at all times. The Minister added that their unwavering support has helped to fuel and maintain his commitment towards this initiative.