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Smoking should be banned in all outdoor dining areas - Green councillor

A Green Party Councillor has called for a smoking ban in all outdoor dining areas. Wicklow Counci...
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

13.52 20 Sep 2021


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Smoking should be banned in al...

Smoking should be banned in all outdoor dining areas - Green councillor

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

13.52 20 Sep 2021


Share this article


A Green Party Councillor has called for a smoking ban in all outdoor dining areas.

Wicklow Councillor Erika Doyle received a massive response after she tweeted out what she thought would be an "unpopular opinion" over the weekend.

Instead, the "vast, vast majority" of responses supported her opinion.

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The debate around outdoor smoking has intensified over the past two years given the increase in outdoor dining during the pandemic.

Professor Luke Clancy - director-general of the TobaccoFree Research Institute - earlier this year suggested there should be no return to smoking areas outside.

Cllr Doyle spoke to Lunchtime Live about what prompted her viral tweet.

She said: “I was out for a walk with my daughter on Saturday morning. We decided we would pop in somewhere to get a bit of brunch.

“We were sitting there having a lovely meal - the sun was out, and it was a really nice atmosphere in an enclosed outdoor dining area.

“Suddenly, somebody lit a cigarette - straight away, the whole atmosphere changed. It was really unpleasant.”

On Saturday, Cllr Doyle tweeted the following:

She said: “The reason I said ‘unpopular opinion’ is because I’ve seen it discussed before and it did seem to be an unpopular opinion. But by this morning the tweet had over 11,000 likes and hundreds and hundreds of comments and retweets.

“I don’t have a very big profile on Twitter - I might tweet about cycling and get five or six likes, so it certainly wasn’t me or my profile: it was the conversation subject matter.

"The vast, vast majority of people were in support of it.”

Cllr Doyle said she believes society has moved on from smoking areas, particularly given the rise of outdoor dining during the pandemic.

She has already heard from some restaurant owners who have enforced no-smoking rules across their premises.

She suggested: “Certainly I think the days of outside being a smoking area are gone - outdoor dining is different to a smoking area.

“I know some places have smoking and non-smoking outdoor area - but someone on the Twitter thread said that’s like having a peeing area in a swimming pool, which I thought was funny because it’s true.”

The Green Party Councillor doesn't believe that smoking in outdoor areas has little impact on people around the smoker.

She now wants to raise the issue with her party colleagues, noting that some experts - including Professor Clancy - have also called for a wider smoking ban to be introduced.

Cllr Doyle's own party leader Eamon Ryan has previously suggested an outdoor smoking ban would be difficult to enforce, suggesting instead the "etiquette should be that you don't smoke" when close to other diners.

Main image: File photo. Picture by: Frank May/DPA/PA Images

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