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7 publicans convicted over outdoor smoking areas

Drinks Industry Ireland

Licensed premises were responsible for 17 of the 24 cases brought to court by EHOs under the Public Health (Tobacco) Act for non-compliance with smoking legislation while hotels were involved in a further two cases. The highest fine imposed was €2,000 on a shopkeeper in Mayo.

Of the 19 hospitality convictions, seven were in relation to permitting smoking in non-compliant outdoor smoking areas, seven were for permitting smoking in another specified place and five related to persons smoking in a specified place, according to the Office of Tobacco Control’s 2008 Annual Report.
During this period EHOs visited 5,106 licensed premises of which 4,562 (or 89 per cent) were found to be compliant in relation to observing the ‘no smoking’ legislation.

4,993 licensed premises were also inspected for compliance with appropriate signage of which 4,514 or 90 per cent were found to be compliant.

Of the 1,021 hotels inspected for compliance with ‘no smoking’ legislation, 946 or 93 per cent were found to be compliant.

1,012 hotels were also inspected for compliance with signage legislation of which 915 or 90 per cent were found to be compliant.

EHOs also conducted 690 test-purchase inspections in relation to purchases by minors legislation with 23 cases taken against retailers resulting in 19 convictions.

In the area of sales to minors EHOs carried out 28 inspections of licensed premises for the purpose of conducting test-purchases and found 18 observed the legislation in regard to sales to minors. Of the 21 hotels inspected for this, 16 were compliant.

Overall compliance with no-smoking regulation now runs at 97 per cent. This represents the highest level of annual compliance since the introduction of no-smoking in the workplace legislation in March 2004.

Through the National Tobacco Control Inspection Programme in co-operation with the HSE, 24 cases for offences under the Public Health (Tobacco) Acts were brought last year resulting in 19 convictions.

The OTC’s Chief Executive Éamonn Rossi highlighted the key role played by EHOs in maintaining the high levels of compliance and stressed the importance, where necessary, of active enforcement.

The OTC”s Chairperson Norma Cronin stated that the measures being introduced on 1st July, which also include the introduction of a national register of tobacco retailers as well as tighter controls on the location and operation of tobacco vending machines, are of critical importance.

She concluded that despite the strong legislative response to tobacco control in Ireland, complacency must be avoided. As from October, pubs, hotels and retailers can be banned from selling cigarettes for periods of up to three months for breaches of the smoking legislation.

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