HEALTH organisations have hailed the saving of "hundreds of lives" as the smoking ban marks its 10th anniversary today, with the number of smokers down by a quarter as a direct result.
The Irish Cancer Society said the smoking ban was "a tipping point" in the battle against tobacco, with figures from the HSE's Tobacco Control Office showing that in March 2004, 28.86pc of the population were smokers. Latest data from December 2012 shows that percentage to be down to 21.71pc.
The Irish Heart Foundation also confirmed the success of the ban, saying heart attacks had fallen in the double digits in the decade following its introduction. Second-hand smoke is a known cause of heart disease.
Ireland was the first country in Europe to introduce the workplace smoking ban in March 2004.