First Ban on Workplace Smoking

On 29 March 2004, the Republic of Ireland (ROI) became the first EU country to introduce a nationwide ban on workplace smoking. While the focus of this measure was to protect worker health by reducing exposure to second-hand smoke, other effects such as a greater reduction in smoking prevalence and consumption were likely among bar workers.

From that date onwards, under the Public Health (Tobacco) Acts, it has been illegal to smoke in all enclosed workplaces. The ban is strictly enforced and includes bars, restaurants, clubs, offices, public buildings, company cars, trucks, taxis and vans – and within a three-metre radius to the entrances of these locations. A private residence is considered a workplace when tradespeople, such as plumbers or electricians, are working there. €3,000 is the maximum fine on the spot, while a prison sentence can also be given at a later time for violators.