Leprechauns Love Smoke-Free Pubs
Ireland’s national smoke-free law started global trend for better health
Posted by: Editor | Mar 17, 2011
If you're having a pint for St. Patrick's Day — and sipping in a smoke-free bar — be sure to tip your hat to Ireland, too.
In March 2004, the Republic of Ireland became the first country in the world to implement a comprehensive, nationwide smoke-free law for all workplaces, including restaurants and pubs. At first, there was widespread disbelief that it could happen in a nation where smoking and drinking were so much a part of local culture. Television crews from around the world turned up in Dublin to record what was heralded as a stunning — if uncertain — change.
The smoke-free law became an instant success, with virtually all workplaces complying and 98 percent of the public (including 94 percent of smokers) saying their workplaces are healthier because of smoke-free air.
Just as important is Ireland's role as a global trendsetter: The Emerald Isle proved to the world that smoke-free laws work even where there was an expectation of cultural resistance, and despite considerable opposition from the tobacco industry. Since Ireland took its groundbreaking action, 23 more countries — on every continent — have enacted 100 percent smoke-free laws to protect everyone's right to breathe clean air.
Nigeria may soon become the 25th smoke-free nation. A comprehensive tobacco-control bill that requires smoke-free public places passed the Senate earlier this week, and now moves to final legislative negotiations.
As of March 2011, 24 countries have implemented 100 percent indoor smoke-free policies
More than 200 million people worldwide are now protected by comprehensive smoke-free air laws. The 172 nations that are party to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control are required to adopt effective smoke-free laws without loopholes. If this public health treaty is properly implemented, more than 87 percent of the world’s population will be breathing smoke-free air.
We’ll toast to that.