Calls for a ban on smoking in designated outdoor eating and drinking areas around the country go a “step too far” and are bad for business, according to a Galway Councillor.
Ballinasloe Cllr Declan Geraghty was speaking after ASH Ireland (Action on Smoking and Health Ireland) asked Galway County Council (GCC) to add no smoking conditions to all new outdoor dining applications.
The conditions would only apply to seating areas on public streets and not those on private property.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Cllr Geraghty said the plan met “ferocious opposition” at this week’s Galway County Council meeting.
“What we’re mainly talking about here is a little coffee shop with maybe two tables outside where people can go outside, sit down - one might be a smoker, one might not - and they can sit down and enjoy the cigarette outside,” he said.
“They’re not inside – the law doesn’t allow them to smoke inside.
“The way I look at it from a business point of view, is that it is another nail in the coffin to these little coffee shops and small little pubs where people can go outside and enjoy a social smoke.”
"Step too far"
He said the plan would be particularly damaging for rural towns and areas.
“We’re gone a step too far with this,” he said.
“People, when they are outside and they have their smoke, there is a social interaction with it. If you’re not a smoker, you don’t have to be in their company, you can move to somewhere else.
“I’m not saying that smoking is right or smoking is wrong but what I am saying is that people who like to go out and smoke and have a social interaction with people, sitting down with their cigarette, they should be entitled to do it because it is an open space.”
Also on the show, Green Party Councillor for Bray Erika Doyle said she supports the plan.
“You talk about a social smoke – second-hand smoke contains carcinogens,” she said. “They are cancer-causing chemicals.”
“This isn’t something, sort of, light and small we are talking about. We’re talking about breathing cancer-causing chemicals into other people’s lungs.
“So, it is a big deal – a huge amount of people die from smoking and you are not giving other people the choice.
“If you are talking about the choice to smoke, you have to give other people the choice not to breathe in your smoke.”
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