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Smoking ban for three 90-year-old nusing home residents

THREE residents of a nursing home, all in their 90s and two of them in wheelchairs, are being asked to give up the habit of a lifetime.

All three are being told they have to stop smoking when the ban on cigarettes comes into effect at their nursing home in Co Offaly next week.

They are all long-stay residents at Ofalia House in Edenderry which is scheduled to introduce the blanket ban on smoking in all healthcare facilities in the Midlands from next Wednesday.

Already smoking is banned in the three Midland Regional Hospitals in Tullamore, Mullingar and Portlaoise.

But the families of all three residents have appealed to the HSE to take account of their special circumstances.

Their case has now been taken up by Edenderry Councillor Noel Cribbin who said it would be very unfair to expect people in their 90s to quit smoking to comply with the regulations. Cllr Cribbin pointed out that he was in favour of the smoking ban, but insisted that allowances had to be made for very elderly people who had always smoked.

"To me, it would be very hard to ask those people who have smoked all their lives – they are still alive after smoking all their lives – to now give up smoking because of the ban across the board."


Cllr Cribbin said if the ban was to be implemented without exception, it would mean the three would have to be taken to an open-air location about 100 metres from the home.

"They smoke probably no more than three cigarettes a day, after breakfast, dinner and supper."

Discussions involving HSE executives have now started with a view to coming up with a solution to facilitate the patients.

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