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Words in the News
Monday 29 March 2004
Ireland's smoking ban
Smoker in pub At midnight on Sunday 28th March Ireland became the first country in Europe to ban smoking in places of work. People are no longer allowed to smoke in bars, restaurants or hotels. Although the ban has caused very vocal opposition, it also has many supporters.
This report from Russell Padmore:
Listen Listen to the story
Fewer than one in three of Ireland's population smokes and according to several surveys the move to stop people puffing cigarettes in work places has prompted about a quarter of smokers to try to give up. Ireland has more than ten thousand bars and it's the pub industry that's worried that the ban will lead to a collapse in trade, as smokers are forced out into the street.

The Irish Government has examined similar bans in America and it's convinced there are many benefits. The Department of Health claims smoking costs the country's economy about six million dollars every day in sick leave from work and lost productivity. It also costs the Government more than a billion dollars every year to provide health care for people suffering tobacco related illnesses.

Although very high taxes are levied on tobacco or cigarettes, the Government is prepared to deal with lower revenues in its budget plans. The tobacco industry is not a major employer here, so there's little risk of job losses. Hundreds of environmental health officers will help to police the ban, but the country's bar staff are concerned that they are expected to enforce it in pubs, hotels and restaurants.

The move is being closely watched by other governments throughout Europe and it's thought that successfully changing lifestyle habits for the Irish could lead to similar bans in other European Union countries.

Russell Padmore, BBC
Listen Listen to the words
something that prompts you to do something makes you decide to do it
to give up
if you stop doing something, like smoking, you give it up
in a ‘public house’, people can have alcoholic drinks and meet and talk to others
a ban is an official rule that something must not to be done
lost productivity
if a company and its workers produce less than expected, there is lost productivity
tobacco related illnesses
illnesses caused by the use of tobacco, such as heart disease and cancer
levied on
a sum of money that is paid in tax on
a major employer
an industry or firm that provides a very large number of jobs
when people in a position of power or authority make sure that a rule or law is obeyed, they enforce it
lifestyle habits
things that you usually do which have become a way of life for you
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