'People should be entitled to enjoy their meal in a smoke free environment' - proposal to extend smoking ban to outdoor food areas
A proposal to extend the smoking ban to outdoor areas where food is served will be put before the Cabinet today.
Health Minister Simon Harris has been called on to change legislation regarding the issue, and he is to ask for Cabinet for approval of the proposal today.
Fine Gael Senator James Reilly called for the extension earlier this year and said diners should be able to enjoy their food without others lighting up around them.
The former Health Minister said he doesn't feel the current legislation goes far enough to protect those who don't smoke.
He explained: "While our smoking ban was a really progressive move and lauded internationally, unfortunately one of the unintended consequences has been the prevalence of smokers in the outdoor areas of bars, cafés and restaurants.
“This means that nobody can enjoy a meal outdoors on a sunny day in this country, without having to inhale other people’s smoke.
“Anyone spending their hard earned money in a restaurant or café should be entitled to enjoy their meal in a smoke free environment.
“Unfortunately the prevalence of smoke can ruin the experience for non-smokers. There is no reason why this situation should be forced upon non-smokers and it is time that we moved to protect them."