Press Release

Micheál Martin TD, Minister for Health and Children welcomes the commencement of the Smoke Free at Work Initiative

Mr Micheál Martin TD, Minister for Health and Children, has today (29th March 2004) welcomed the commencement of the Smoke Free at Work initiative.

“This important tobacco free initiative has the support of the majority of people in Ireland, smokers and non-smokers alike. This is a positive, progressive health and safety measure, which will bestow positive benefits to workers and the general public” said the Minister.

“The smoke free initiative is aimed at indoor workplaces generally to try to ensure that protection from toxic tobacco smoke is provided for employees across the board. The response from employers has been very helpful in ensuring compliance with the measure. The trade union movement has also been very proactive in supporting this important workplace health measure. Thousands of workers in offices and factories all over the country will benefit from this measure” Minister Martin said.

Commenting on enforcement, Minister Martin said that Environmental Health Officers working through the health boards have established an excellent reputation for a fair and even handed approach in advising on and implementing public health policy in the hospitality, food and beverage area. “Once again we will be calling on their skill and expertise in monitoring compliance with and providing guidance and advice to employers and employees on this new public health measure. The Office of Tobacco Control, the Environmental Health Officers Association and the Health and Safety Authority have been very proactive in the preparation for the commencement of this initiative. The Health and Safety Authority inspection personnel will bring much experience and expertise in monitoring the new measure in their traditional areas of operation”, he added.

Much hard work has been done to ensure that appropriate mechanisms are in place, however, adapting to the new measure will require some adjustment. Minister Martin stated “I am confident that people will adapt. 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.”