The BBC today reports that Northern Ireland will have a smoking ban before the end of the year, following the lead of the Government here in the south.
This is great news.
Firstly, when I was studying in Magee College in Derry, the benefits of the smoking ban were starkly illustrated. You were unable to even go for a coffee or a sandwich without leaving the cafe stinking of someone else’s smoke. The health implications of working in an environment like this must then be taken into account.
Secondly, it shows that the smoking ban that was implemented here with such controversy has been a resounding success. There have been some difficulties with uptake, but overall the results have shown that people are willingly obeying the ban, and the environment in our pubs, clubs, restaraunts and other places of work have improved greatly.
Minister Michael Martin, although he has suffered some knocks since, showed real courage in pushing through this ban and deserves recognition for this contribution to Irish legislation.
Update: As this article says, Donegal Tourism chiefs are welcoming the Northern ban, saying it will help “level the playing fields”