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Overwhelming support for the smoking ban amongst parents in the Mid-West   Back Bookmark and Share

Ir Med J. 2007 Apr;100(4):443


It is alarming that a number of publicans and their representatives continue to vociferously advocate the abolition, or at least partial roll-back of the workplace smoking ban introduced under provisions of the Public Health (Tobacco) Acts, 2002 & 2004 on 29th March 2004. 1 This ban probably represents the most significant single action to improve population health in Ireland over the last decade. It is imperative therefore that complacency in health circles cannot be allowed to threaten the continuation of this ban, which continues to be contested. Presented below are results from a survey conducted in May 2005 that indicate continuing overwhelming support among parents for the smoking ban.

This research was one element of a wider study examining health problems and behaviours among National School children in the Mid-West region. Ethical approval for this study was obtained from the Ethics Research Committee of the Regional General Hospital, Health Services Executive- Mid-Western Area.

A stratified random sample of 50 National Schools in the Mid-West region were approached to take part in this research. 43 schools agreed and were able to participate. 1014 parents/ guardians responded to the parent questionnaire representing a response rate from all 50 schools of 61.8%. 13.7% of respondents were male, while 86.3% were female. 26% of respondents reported that they smoked.

Results show that support for the ban among parents was overwhelming, with 88.2% stating that they either strongly agreed or agreed with the ban. A further 6.0% indicated that they neither agreed nor disagreed with it. Just 5.8% of respondents stated that they either disagreed or disagreed strongly with the smoking ban.

This research largely supports the results of an earlier survey examining support for the smoking ban. Research conducted in March 2005 on a nationally representative sample of 1,000 people aged 15 years and older reported that 93% of respondents were supportive of the ban.2 Support for the smoking ban has grown steadily over the last 2 years. In June 2003 67% of the public supported the introduction of a smoking ban. By August 2004 public support for the ban had increased to 82%. 2

Although smoking bans had been introduced in cities such as New York, and states such as California, Ireland was the first country to introduce such a nationwide ban. Since then a number of other countries, including Malta, Norway, Sweden and Norway have followed suit, while there are calls in a number of other countries for similar moves. As such the continuing success of the smoking ban in Ireland has not only national, but potentially international ramifications.

Public/ population health advocates (both within the medical profession and outside of it) should continue to openly emphasise both their own support for the workplace smoking ban and the widespread support the ban has among the public at large.

F Houghton, H Cowley, F Meehan, K Kelleher

Frank Houghton
Limerick Institute of Technology,
Moylish Park, Limerick.
Email: [email protected]


  1. Vintners Federation of Ireland. Job Losses and Pub Closures the Reality of the Smoking Ban. Accessed on 27/10/2005 at article_detail.asp?article_type_id=1&article_id=125.
  2. Office of Tobacco Control. Press release dated 28/3/2005. Accessible via:


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