Sir, – ASH Ireland and the council of the Irish Heart Foundation fully support the proposal by Prof Des Cox that outdoor areas linked to pubs should become "non-smoking" as we emerge from the present crisis. ("Pub outdoor areas should be non-smoking zones when bars reopen, doctors warn", News, May 11th).
Our vintners are trying to reach an agreement with Government on the opening of pubs as soon as possible. In this context it is important that customers who will be using outdoor areas in the initial stages of reopening to facilitate social distancing will be protected from the harmful effects of passive smoke.
Countless studies have shown that there is simply no safe level of secondhand smoke, and it is paramount that we protect the public, and in particular the employees, from the proven dangers secondhand smoke has on the body.
Smoking is still the leading cause of avoidable death in Ireland, with 6,000 people tragically dying each year from the effects of smoking, and thousands more suffering from smoking-related diseases.
It is important that Government negotiators take a firm line on this issue and make public health the ongoing priority as we emerge with caution from this pandemic. – Yours, etc,
Council of the
Irish Heart Foundation,