Smoking has been illegal in workplaces, including pubs and restaurants, in the Irish Republic since March. But health secretary John Reid said the UK had to find its own answers to the problem of smoking and not copy what other countries have done.
“The status quo is not an option on smoking,” Reid said. “The majority of people in this country are not smokers and they want to work and enjoy their leisure in an atmosphere which is not afflicted with cigarette smoke.
“I will try to do that in a way that will try to balance people’s rights in this country.”
Reid was speaking after a leaked report on Monday concluded that “second-hand smoke represents a substantial public health hazard”.
Ministers are preparing to publish their long-awaited Public Health White Paper next month. It is widely expected to include measures to limit smoking in public places, but will stop short of a total ban.
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