Ireland put into place Monday the world's toughest anti-smoking law, banning tobacco in all enclosed workplaces, as well as in pubs and restaurants.
The new law, which has the strong support of Health Minister Michael Martin, took effect at midnight. Companies that fail to comply with the ban, which extends to company cars, could be fined as much as 3 000 euros (R22 800), Bloomberg.com reports.
The law is part of a get-tough policy on smoking and unhealthy lifestyles across Europe. Measures have included restricting cigarette and alcohol advertising on TV, and promoting campaigns that urge people to exercise often and eat more fruit and vegetables.
To protect employees' health
"The fundamental rationale behind the ban is to protect the health of employees," Martin told reporters in Dublin. "This is about the rights of people to breathe fresh, clean air."
The Netherlands banned smoking on public transit systems and in offices on Jan. 1, and Norway and Sweden plan to outlaw smoking in bars and restaurants by early next year. New York City banned smoking in most workplaces in March 2003, the news service reports. – (HealthDayNews)
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