Government considers smoking ban at beaches and parks

Government Considers Smoking Ban At Beaches And Parks
The latest report from the Department of Health's Tobacco-Free Ireland section, outlines plans to promote a smoking ban in conjunction with local authorities. Photo: PA.
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Smoking in public parks and beaches could be outlawed under new measures being considered by Goverment.

The latest report from the Department of Health's Tobacco-Free Ireland section outlines plans to promote a smoking ban in conjunction with local authorities.


According to a report in the Irish Independent, an extended smoking ban could involve voluntary measures, but also by-laws prohibiting smoking in certain public spaces.

Former Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath, said the Department of Health should be focusing on bigger problems in the health service:

"A&Es, trollies, people on waiting lists, CF children waiting for months for drugs while [the] department and drugs companies bicker over the prices, and they're big idea this morning is to go after smokers.

"Again, soft targets, in outdoor spaces, on beaches and public parks. I just think there's an element of picking on a soft target, it's not particularly persuasive as part of a major health strategy," he said.


Mark Murphy, Advocacy Manager with the Irish Heart Foundation, welcomed new recommendations made in the new report.

“Banning smoking in parks and beaches is a great first step towards a tobacco end game, but much more needs to be done,” Mr Murphy said.

Citing recent figures from Healthy Ireland, which showed that smoking rates in Ireland increased from 17 per cent in 2019 to 18 per cent last year, he said Ireland risked becoming complacent in the fight against the dangers of smoking and nicotine addiction.

“This country led the way when we became the first in the world to introduce a workplace smoking ban 18 years ago,” he said. “But in recent years we have become complacent, as recent surveys have shown.


“Ireland urgently needs to explore more ambitious, New Zealand-style legislation to help us achieve a tobacco endgame.”

Mr Murphy also outlined need fo legislation tackling the proliferation of vaping among young people.

Forest, a smokers' rights group, slammed the Government's plans to restrict smoking in public areas.

John Mallon, spokesperson for the group said that there was "no justification" for restricting tobacco use in parks or at beaches.

"There is no evidence of harm to non-smokers if someone smokes in the open air so the policy would be based not on science but on prejudice and intolerance."

"Most smokers accepted the ban on smoking in enclosed public places with good grace but enough is enough. Tobacco is a legal product and adults have every right to smoke in outdoor public places without further harassment and discrimination.

"If the government wants to ban smoking completely then let’s have that debate, not this insidious creeping prohibition," he added.

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