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Irish pubs smoke free from 2004, workers to breathe ease


-while new Australian study finds four out of five workers in bars and clubs concerned about working in conditions where smoking is permitted

Health body Quit Victoria says smokefree pubs are a step closer, following the Irish Government's release over the weekend of regulations that will see smoking banned in all enclosed workplaces  - including pubs and bars - in Ireland from January next year.

Quit Executive Director Todd Harper says Ireland joins a growing list of jurisdictions acting on overwhelming health evidence that passive smoking is a cause of diseases such as heart disease and lung cancer and adopting smoke bans in pubs and clubs, including Norway (from Spring 2004) California, New York State, Delaware, Conneticut, Maine, and 40 municipalities in Ottawa, Canada.

Mr Harper says a new study published recently in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health found that workers in venues like bars and pubs are exposed to passive smoking in their workplace more than other workers.

'Hospitality workers are the group most at risk of illness from passive smoking, with this new research finding that over half (57%) of hospitality workers interviewed were exposed to passive smoke while at work, compared to only 8% of other workers.""

The study also found that four out of five workers in bars and clubs are concerned about working in conditions where smoking was permitted.

""This study showed that staff in hospitality venues are concerned about being exposed to passive smoke at work – and not just the non-smokers.""

""Significantly, being in smoky workplaces also bothered many of the smokers, with almost half of hospitality workers who smoked saying cigarette smoke bothered them.”

The study also found that around three quarters of hospitality workers don't smoke.

Mr Harper says the study’s findings confirm the need for smoking bans to be extended to all workplaces, including bars and pubs, as soon as possible

“This study clearly shows that workers in the hospitality industry are concerned about working in smoky environments, whether they’re smokers or not.”

“Their concern is entirely understandable, when it’s well known that passive smoking causes a range of deadly and debilitating diseases, including, heart disease, lung cancer, nasal sinus cancer and asthma attacks.”

“We know that support for smoking bans is at an all time high in Victoria, with around two thirds (68%) of Victorians in favour of a ban on smoking in bars.”

“This groundswell of public support for smokefree environments, coupled with the overwhelming research about the serious health effects of passive smoking, provide a strong foundation for action,” Mr Harper said.

“We have seen some real gains in smokefree legislation in the last three years, and Victorians have voiced their strong support for taking current smoking bans even further.”

“Workers in bars and pubs have just as much right to a safe, smokefree workplaces as anyone else.”


The study Exposure of secondhand smoke at work: a survey of the members of the Australian Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union was published in the October issue of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. The study, conducted by researchers from The Cancer Council Victoria and funded by VicHealth, details the results of interviews with over 1000 members of the Victorian branch of the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union. Half of the union members who participated worked in hospitality venues in Victoria.

Further information:
Zoe Furman
Media Communications Manager

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