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Introduction of Italian smoking ban increases pressure for action here

10 January, 2005

The introduction of a smoking ban in Italy which takes effect today will increase pressure for action here, according to Sinn Féin's health spokesperson Cllr John O'Dowd MLA.

He said, "Italy has now become the latest country to prohibit smoking in the workplace and all public places. This decision willl give an impetus to those campaigning for the introduction of similar restrictions in the Six Counties. The NIO health minister, Angela Smith MP, could make a major contributiion to improving the public health of the entire population by introducing enabling legislation preventing smoking in all workplaces and enclosed public spaces. To date, she has refused to do so as she continually looks over her shoulder towards her colleagues in Westminster."

Cllr O'Dowd also called upon the Federation of the Retail Licensed Trade to adopt a more positive attitude in relation to the issue of banning smoking in bars and restaurants. He said, "As employers, members of the FRLT have a duty of care towards their staff. Protecting the health of their staff from the recognised negative health impacts and dangers of second-tobacco smoke is something which needs to be taken very seriously, and not merely dismissed as something that is "unpleasant" which is how the Federation described these effects of tobacco smoke in a recent communication to all of the North's MLA's." ENDS

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