Dec 13, 2017 in Politics

Smoking Ban in the Northern Ireland


Between 2004 and March 2005, a survey was carried out by the DHSSPS to consult with the public regarding the introduction of the smoke ban legislation. In this study, they got over 70,000 responses to their questions on issues of how to strengthen the control on tobacco use in Northern Ireland. Over 90% of the responses were on the positive on whether the controls should be installed (W.H.O, 75). Afterwards the health minister Shaun Woodward announced his intentions of introducing a legislature on smoking. This was geared to bring in controls to protect the public from secondary smoking in Northern Ireland. These consultations did not stop even in 2006 when a draft was created (Lang, 2000). They consulted on many issues so as to make sure they did not end up offending people or being too harsh. They also consulted on issues regarding penalties which would be placed on those who did not oblige.

Smoking Ban in Northern Ireland

There was a serious concern over the smoking that took place in public spaces such as restaurants and working places. It had significantly affected the environment due to the environmental tobacco smoke (Pershagen, 1998). This was because of a rising concern over 22,000 deaths which were reported in a year brought about by passive smoking. Though employers put in place bans to deal with such concerns, it was still a problem. On the 30th of April, 2007, the smoke- free legislation was put into effect exactly at 6am that Monday morning. This legislation’s main aim was to curb the secondary smoking that affected people in the enclosed public spaces including public transport, workplaces and working vehicles. The secondary smoking was a terrific harm to those who actually surrounded the smoker (Hackshaw, 1997).

The effects of the smoking ban legislation

To most people, this move was a whopping sigh of relief as well as a benefit. The adults’ behaviour and attitude were different, besides, the improvement in their health was noticed. When it came to those who worked in the hospitality sectors, their health was profoundly changed in a good way since the exposure levels had declined to a large percentage. Though there was a positive attitude by the adults, many feared that smokers would smoke more in their homes putting children at a greater risk of secondary smoking (W.H.O, 1999). However, there were studies conducted which showed a decrease in the number of children taken to hospitals due to asthma after the smoking ban legislation came into force. The ban also had an enormous impact on the environment. Effective bans restricted exposures to ETS hence substantial reduction were noted.

Another good impact on smokers was that they became more aware of the dangers they faced. They were also informed about the dangers they presented to people as well as they were aware of all the possible ways to protect children while they were at home (Gottlieb, 1990). When the studies were done on employees who smoked, it was noted that employees in areas of a total ban on smoking found it easier to quit smoking. Those employees that worked in places which provided a smoking zone for their workers found it easier to relapse and hence found it hard to quit the habit (NCHS, 1996).

On the economy:

Since businesses were also given the duty to enforce this ban, they had to comply or get fined massive penalties for this. Most businesses were not considerably affected of this ban (Emont, 1995). The restaurants found this ban to be an advantage since it encouraged more people to come and eat at the restaurants as opposed to staying in their houses. For those businesses invested in the hospitality department found it hard as they lost customers by imposing and enforcing the ban in their premises. In the end, the ban profoundly affected businesses by giving them immense losses since smoking clients moved to premises which supported their habits (Borland, 1990).

When businesses were researched, they found a difference in the level of productivity among the staff. This difference was brought about by the lengths of the smoking breaks granted. Since the policy was put in place, most businesses had gained profits since they had staff taking short breaks. Smokers are bound to have weak immune systems which led to their constant absence at work (Nyberg, 1998). After the ban, most people quit smoking, which improved their health. This in turn led to fewer health or sick leaves, which meant more productivity for the employers. To the smokers, this meant saving their money and care more about their health (Gentry, 1985).

Though most smokers tried to quit the smoking habit, some, however, experienced considerable smoking urges leading them to smoke more. Other small studies noted that it made the youth curious and they ended up taking up the habit. When the ban was put to effect in schools, it inhibited the progression in students of regular smoking.

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