In advance of Ash Wednesday, a call to ban smoking where food is served has been made by a Fine Gael Senator.
James Reilly, who spearheaded the Tobacco Free Ireland plan during his time as Minister for Health, has said it should no longer be acceptable for people to smoke where others are eating.
“While our smoking ban was a really progressive move and lauded internationally, unfortunately one of the unintended consequences has been the prevalence of smokers in the outdoor areas of bars, cafés and restaurants.
“This means that nobody can enjoy a meal outdoors on a sunny day in this country, without having to inhale other people’s smoke.
“Anyone spending their hard earned money in a restaurant or café should be entitled to enjoy their meal in a smoke free environment.
“Unfortunately the prevalence of smoke can ruin the experience for non-smokers. There is no reason why this situation should be forced upon non-smokers and it is time that we moved to protect them.
“I commend the businesses in Dublin who have already made the move to ban smoking where food is served. They include Jo Burger and Metro Café and these businesses are leading the way in the efforts to achieve a healthier more comfortable environment for their customers.
“I intend to table a debate on this matter in the Seanad and to inform the Government as to the benefits of such a ban.
“Ireland now has more quitters than smokers which is really positive. I commend anyone giving up smoking for Ash Wednesday and wish them the very best. I know it is not an easy thing to do but it will be the best decision they ever made. The more often you try the more success you have. Anyone looking for support should go to the HSE’s dedicated website quit.ie .”