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Sinn Féin urge Licensed Vintners Association to get behind smoking legislation

16 September, 2004

Speaking after yesterday's BMA Passive smoking seminar held in Belfast, Sinn Féin health spokesperson, John O Dowd MLA, has said that there is a growing body of public opinion within the North in favour of a ban on smoking in the workplace and public places.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"I would encourage the Licensed Vintners Association to back such legislation, this legislation at the end of the day is about protecting the health of their members their staff and their customers. The prediction of economic ruin, which proceeded similar legislation in the South, has proved fruitless. The LVA, have the opportunity to help their members through this change.

The Upper Bann MLA said, "Incapacity and long-term illnesses caused by tobacco related diseases are proving to be among the major crisis problems facing the health service. Tobacco smoking and the inhaling of environmental tobacco smoke (passive smoking) are widely acknowledged by public health professionals as major, prime contributory factors to many long-term illnesses. This fact was again evidenced in the shocking figures contained in the most recent All-Ireland Cancer Registry Report published just a few weeks ago.

"Angela Smith, as the direct rule minister with responsibility for health issues, has it within her power to take immediate action to ban smoking within the workplace and all other public places. This major anti-smoking seminar, organised by the BMA, will add to the growing impetus for the need for such action. Sinn Féin is on public record as supporting the introduction of such a ban, and I believe that Angela Smith should take her direction from public health and professional bodies within the health service, such as the BMA, and introduce such a ban now, rather than pander to the dictates of multi-national companies such as British American Tobacco who are concerned only with maintaining their own massive profits from this industry." ENDS

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