Health workers lose outside smoking area
DEPARTMENT of Health employees will have to travel that extra bit further to light up after bosses signalled the introduction of an outdoor smoking ban.
The Herald has learned that the smoking area at the Department's offices in the south inner city will be shut from the middle of next month.
In an email sent by department bosses, staff members were told that the decision was taken "in the light of the undeniable damage done to human health by smoking".
And staff were also told that smoking breaks are now banned.
It means that officials will have to leave the vicinity of the premises, situated near Grafton Street, if they want to light up.
"It has been decided that with effect from Monday July 16, 2012, smoking will be prohibited on all of the Department's property, including the outdoor area currently used for this purpose. Smoking breaks will no longer be allowed to staff members," the email stated.
"This decision has been taken in the light of the undeniable damage done to human health by smoking, with one in two smokers dying of a tobacco-related disease, and of the Department's national leadership role in the protection of health and the promotion of healthy lifestyles."
The email also contained a series of recommendations for those hoping to give up smoking.
The ban in the department was an "opportunity" for anyone wishing to quit smoking, staff were told.
Health Minister James Reilly has been vocal in his plans to outlaw smoking in other outdoor areas such as parks and beaches, similar to measures taken in New York City.
He has also indicated his plans to ban the habit in cars.
"We want to denormalise smoking. We don't want to have children seeing adults smoking. This can be done by regulation from local authorities," he said recently.