Alliance Party representative, Councillor Tom Campbell, has called on the Minister responsible for Health, Shaun Woodward, to take the advice of the medical profession and introduce effective measures to combat smoking in public places as soon as possible.
Speaking in advance of the Government’s expected response next week of its consultation on smoking policy, Mr Campbell, a member of Newtownabbey Council, said:
“Given that the Minister’s speech is being said to be in the context of measures to tackle hospital waiting lists, Mr. Woodward cannot ignore the fact that smoking related deaths are preventable, and that around 3,000 people die here from smoking related diseases.
“These figures point unavoidably to the urgent need to legislate for the introduction of smoke-free workplaces. Responsibility for this cannot be shirked any longer and the excuses for inaction have run out.
“The Health Promotion Agency and the medical profession have shown the lead, and the vast majority of people here support the introduction of such measures. The Government cannot ignore this issue any longer.
“The Irish Government has shown that it is possible to introduce the strongest measures against smoking in public places, despite early concerns that the law would be unenforceable. Early legislation is possible through the Order in Council system, and its use would be one of the few benefits of direct rule here.”