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Ottawa leads Dublin in banning cigarette smoke

Cigarette smoke, the modern day curse that has caused more cancer deaths than any other carcinogen, is being tackled on a city by city basis in Canada and Ireland.

Canada's capital city, Ottawa, led the way in 2001 with a municipal ban on smoking in restaurants and pubs. There was an immediate outcry that businesses would be ruined, jobs would be lost, and a thousand and one ills would befall the city and its inhabitants. Court action was taken "to protect smokers' rights".

"Our freedom to pollute ourselves and others is at stake."

After much posturing, the hub-bub died down, and Ottawa became a cleaner and healthier place in which to dine and drink.

Most public offices and buildings had been declared smoke-free areas even before the municipal ban took effect. Other Canadian cities are following Ottawa's lead.

The once unthinkable is now about to happen in Ireland's capital city, Dublin.

The country's Minister for Health has announced a total ban on smoking in Dublin's restaurants and pubs will come into effect in January of 2004.

The reaction of the Licensed Vintners' Association was immediate, just like the reaction of their brethren in Ottawa. "The idea of a total ban in pubs is a dream", said its spokesman Frank Fell.

If the Canadian experience is anything to go by, Dublin will be a cleaner and healthier place in which to dine and drink once the ban comes into effect.

Meantime non-smokers may recall, with a smile, the nursery rhyme:

I do not like thee, Dr. Fell,
The reason why I cannot tell;
But this I know, I know full well,
I do not like thee, Dr. Fell.


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