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Don't Follow Ireland's Lead, Warns Tobacco Spokesman

LONDON, England, March 26 /PRNewswire/ -- On Monday 29 March, a ban on smoking in public places comes into force in Ireland, almost a year to the day since New York City banned smoking in pubs, clubs and restaurants (30 March 2003).

Tim Lord, chief executive of the UK's Tobacco Manufacturers' Association, comments: "If Ireland follows the pattern of New York, there won't be many ceilidhs in the Irish hospitality sector. Bar and restaurant owners in New York say the smoking ban has had a disastrous effect on their business, with takings down by 40 per cent in some cases.

"The UK should take heed before rushing into a total ban, which is likely to have an equally damaging effect on hospitality businesses, some of which rely on smokers for 25 per cent of their income.

"Research among pub customers has shown that more than half (56 per cent) believe a ban on smoking would have a negative effect(1). Over a third (38 per cent) of smokers, who are more frequent users of pubs, clubs and bars than non-smokers, say they would eat and drink out less often if smoking were banned. Only one in five people asked said that a ban would encourage them to eat or drink our more often.

"When offered the choice, the majority of people favour voluntary restrictions on smoking in pubs, clubs and bars(2) - not a total ban. The example of New York shows that a much better approach would be to work with government and business to find ways of accommodating smokers and non-smokers that increase the available choice for everyone."

(1) and (2) BMRB survey September 2003

SOURCE Tobacco Manufacturers' Association

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