Jo'Burger's "common sense" outdoor smoking ban

The Dublin eatery says customers have praised the decision...

Jo'Burger's "common sense" outdoor smoking ban

Picture by Andres Kudacki AP/Press Association Images

Jo'Burger has called its decision to clamp down on smoking outside its doors "common sense", as the number of dining establishments making their outdoor areas smoke-free zones increases around Dublin.

Joe Macken, one of the owners of the gourmet burger chain, told Newstalk Breakfast that, rather than be met with criticism, the smoke-free terraces they now have outside four of its restaurants have been "getting the complete opposite reaction" and been praised by customers.

"We've received more compliments about it than we've ever had people leaving because they couldn't have a cigarette," Macken said. "There are loads of options where you can smoke, still."

"It's common sense," he continued. "If you were in your own home and someone lit up a cigarette while you were trying to eat, you'd probably ask them to put it out.

"You're not entitled to tell someone else that they have to smoke or smell secondhand smoke while they're eating. Everyone wants to sit outside, we're changing as a culture. We're becoming much more organised to sit outside; you can see it on the streets of Dublin and around all the cities and towns. There are seats outside every pub, every café...

"I'm in Slane at the moment. There are two places with terraces outside and it's a small, sleepy village. People want to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air. We're changing."

Newstalk reporter Elaine Power hit the streets of Dublin to get the public's opinion on the ban...

As for the reasons behind Jo'Burger's move? Macken says the ban simply came down to the fact that the smell of cigarettes would put people off their food:

"It's not really attractive getting smoke in your mouth when you're trying to eat a burger or some fried chicken or a steak in one of our restaurants. It's just not really pleasant. That was the number one reason."

"All-out" public ban on the way?

He pointed out that he is a smoker himself, along with all of Jo'Burger's managers.

"Yet we made a decision that this is the right thing to do," he said, reading the tea leaves to forecast:

"In the next few years, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw an all-out ban everywhere [in public places].

"We've seen it outside hospitals. There's calls in the UK and other cities in mainland Europe for bans outside bars and full bans in working places.

"I think it's something that we're going to see not just for the national health, [but because] it's practical. In parks, mothers don't want people smoking around their kids. I think it's going to be the same in pubs. It is a workplace.

"I know very much on terraces, we've to work as hard outside the restaurant as we do inside the restaurant.

"It is a working environment. But it's a positive thing, it's not a negative thing. It's not trying to push people away... It's going to be like airports, where there are very much defined smoking areas."

Just under one-fifth of Irish people (over the age of 15) are smokers, with 5,200 people dying annually from smoking-related diseases in Ireland.