Restaurants go smokefree
The government has amended tobacco control legislation to ban smoking in all restaurants and catering outlets.
The new ruling took effect from the start of the year. Bars and restaurants are allowed to set aside smoking rooms for customers, but staff are not allowed to serve in them. The change to smokefree restaurants is primarily aimed at protecting catering staff from secondhand tobacco smoke.
A study released in 2004 revealed that despite the tightening of smoking restrictions in workplaces that took effect from 1995, a third of restaurant workers were still exposed to tobacco smoke for on average over four hours a day.
Smoking is banned in bars and restaurants in Ireland, Norway, New Zealand, Italy, Sweden and parts of the US. New smokefree legislation is also due to take effect in Estonia in May 2007.
Further information: Ms Liisa Katajamäki, Ministerial Counsellor, Legal Affairs , tel. +358 9 160 73854