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Civil Service move on smoke-free working environment paves the way for u-turn

5 July, 2004

Sinn Fein Health Spokesperson, Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd has welcomed the announcement that all government departments and the NIO will be smoke free working environments from 1 January 2005 and added that the decision paves the way for a u-turn from British direct rule Minister Angela Smith on the introduction of legislation on the right to work in a smoke free environment.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"The pressure to introduce a workplace smoking ban is now impossible to ignore. Not only have the GAA and the BMA shown leadership on this, there is significant evidence of the impact of this legalisation in the south, where it is reported that demand for smoking products is down by nearly 10%.

"We now have a decision taken by British direct rule Ministers on the introduction of a smoke free working environment for civil servants throughout the civil service in the interests of creating a healthy and safe working environment for all staff throughout the civil service.

"While I welcome this move the failure to deal with the wider issue of a smoke free working environment means that many of the lowest paid and most vulnerable workers still face the risks associated with working in a smoking environment and the dangers of passive smoking.

"The logic of this announcement is that it is time to introduce legislation to give legal effect to the right to work in a smoke free environment. This decision now paves the way for a u-turn on part of Angela Smith." ENDS

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