Northern Ireland is to ban smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces.
Health minister, Shaun Woodward, said that the Northern Ireland government would take a few months to decide whether it would be a total ban or a partial ban.
Scotland have chosen to ban smoking in public places from April 2006 and the Republic of Ireland began a ban in March 2004.
However, governments in Wales and England have so far refused to confirm if and when a ban would come into effect.
Dr Sam Everington, deputy chairman of the UK British Medical Association (BMA), called on health secretary, Patricia Hewitt, to follow the example shown in Northern Ireland.
“The BMA congratulates the Northern Ireland health minister for listening to the evidence on second-hand smoke, putting the health of the people of Northern Ireland first and having the courage to introduce a ban,” he said.