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Scottish smoking ban decision puts even greater pressure on Health Minster

10 November, 2004

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson, Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd has welcomed the decision of the Scottish parliament to move ahead with implementing a ban on smoking similar to the successful legislation introduced in the south and said that the case for extending this legislation across the island of Ireland is now unstoppable.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"This move from the Scottish parliament adds even greater pressure on direct rule NIO Health Minster Angela Smith to get her act together. Ms Smith has the ability to publish a consultation document now and so begin laying the groundwork for the introduction of legislation banning smoking in the workplace similar to legislation that has been hugely successful in terms of reducing tobacco consumption in the south. She should do so without delay.

"The medical evidence cannot be ignored. The views of medical practitioners should not be ignored and the rights of people in the workplace must be protected. Angela Smith is running out of excuses. It is not good enough to avoid the issue because British Health Secretary John Reid doesn't want to protect the rights of workers. It is time that this NIO direct rule Minster got on with the job.

"It is also vital that Angela Smith handles the introduction of this ban properly by starting a process of dialogue with the relevant bodies including health practitioners, local politicians and representatives of the business and hospitality trade to work out the details for how such a workplace smoking ban can be implemented." ENDS

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