Smokefree legislation

Ireland was the first country in the world to become 100% smokefree on 29 March 2004. Smoking is banned in enclosed or more than 50% enclosed public places and workplaces (including all bars, cafés and restaurants). Designated smoking rooms are not allowed. Prison, hotel rooms and psychiatric hospitals are exempt. The main purpose of the Smokefree at Work legislation is to protect workers and the general public from exposure to secondhand smoke.

Public Health (Tobacco) (Amendment) Act 2004
Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2002

Preparation for smokefree legislation

Legislation followed a decade of lobbying and campaigning by tobacco control advocates. The Tobacco Free Policy Review Group was set up to carry out a fundamental review of health and tobacco and make recommendations to the Minister for Health and Children. The report was published in March 2000 and subsequently adopted as government policy. Towards a tobacco free society ( The Office of Tobacco Control was set up in 2000 and given statutory status in 2002. Legislation was introduced in 2002.

Public information campaigns prepared the public for legislation e.g. ‘Promoting a tobacco free society leaflet’
Guidance documents on how to comply with the legislation were distributed to employers before implementation of the law. A specific document for the licensed trade was also produced. Workplace signage regulations were issued.
For more information on the campaign visit The Global Smokefree Partnership at

The commitment of the Minister for Health and Children, Micheál Martin, to smokefree legislation, and the collaboration of health organisations was crucial to its introduction.
Research Institute for a Tobacco Free Society
Office of Tobacco Control
Irish Cancer Society
ASH Ireland
Irish Heart Foundation

Enforcement and compliance

Five years after the ban was introduced, compliance has risen to an all-time high of 97%. One year after the ban the compliance rate was 94% (ASH Scotland Daily Bulletin 30 March 09;

Legislation is enforced by officers authorised by the Office of Tobacco Control and the Health Service Executive under the National Inspection Programme. There are 40 dedicated environmental health officers whose responsibilities include enforcing the smoke-free workplace legislation. These are supported by an additional 400 environmental health officers and a further 100 inspectors from the Health and Safety Authority.

A low-cost compliance phoneline was introduced when legislation came into effect. 95% of businesses complied with the ban in its first year and by 2007 the figure was the same

First, say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. Health Service Food and Human Resources: Cheap Wholesale Cigarette Shop

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture. Click on the picture to hear an audio file of the word.
Anti-spam image