Sinn Féin urges Health Minister to act on smoking
Sinn Féin health spokesperson, Cllr John O'Dowd MLA, has called on direct rule minister Angela Smith MP to stop delaying the introduction of a ban on smoking in enclosed public places. Cllr O'Dowd made the call today as he attended the handing in by the BMA at Stormont of over 500 letters signed by doctors across the Six Counties. This now brings to 5,000 the number of doctors in the North calling on the government to implement a smoking ban.
Cllr O'Dowd said, "The evidence that smoking causes death and disease is overwhelming, yet the health minister Angela Smith continues to prevaricate and fudge on this issue. An Approved Code of Practice on Passive Smoking At Work (ACOP) due to be finalised by September 2003 as part of the government's five year Tobacco Action Plan still has not published. Indeed, in a recent written response to me, Angela Smith was unable to give any date for the publication of that Code of Practice. In the meantime, while Angela Smith and her colleagues continue to fail to act, the health of workers and others will continue to be effected by second hand tobacco smoke.
" In May of this year, the Health Promotion Agency published extensive research that showed over 70% of the public would support smoke-free indoor environments. The time has come for Angela Smith to make that decision now." ENDS