1st April 2014, Tuesday
By Bryan T. Smyth
Last week marked the 10th Anniversary of the workplace smoking ban in Ireland.
We all know that Smoking damages health, but there are groups who are in favour of giving smokers choices, and if a person – knowing the facts – still wishes to make a personal decision to smoke then they believe they should be allowed to continue.
The Tobacco Smoking (Prohibition) Regulations 2003, came into effect on 29th March 2004, made Ireland the first country in the world to introduce a comprehensive ban on smoking in the workplace, including restaurants, pubs and bars.
One of the most persistent critics of the legislation was John Mallon from Mayfield in Cork. John’s arguments against the ban include
- the impact on many pubs and bars
- the adverse effect it had on many people’s social lives (elderly people especially);
- the refusal of successive governments to consider more liberal options such as separate well-ventilated smoking rooms.
In 2010 John became spokesman for Forest Éireann, a group set up with the support of Forest UK which was established in 1979.
The groups name is an acronym for – Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco – they says they are not pro-smoking, rather they are pro-choice, pro-freedom, allowing a person who wants to smoke the freedom to do so.
John Mallon said: “The tenth anniversary of the smoking ban is nothing to celebrate. It represents a decade in which ordinary law-abiding smokers have been marginalised and stigmatised for their habit. Tobacco is a legal product yet smokers are persistently hounded and treated like third class citizens.