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OTC to be merged into HSE

The Office of Tobacco Control will merge into the HSE next year together with its 13 staff as part of the Government’s ongoing rationalisation scheme.

The Office of Tobacco Control will merge into the HSE next year together with its 13 staff as part of the Government’s ongoing rationalisation scheme.
Under the smoking prohibition legislation, the Office of Tobacco Control co-ordinates the national inspection programme while the HSE’s EHOs conduct the actual inspections themselves.
The OTC will “work closely with the Department of Health and Children and the HSE to ensure a successful transition to the new HSE-based Office of Tobacco Control,” stated  OTC Chairperson Norma Cronin who emphasised that the battle to protect people against the scourge of tobacco is a long-term one.
“It is crucial that tobacco control ranks as a top priority for political and public health leaders and we believe that the new HSE-based Office of Tobacco Control will reflect that priority,” she stated, “In this context, it is essential that the new OTC is properly resourced with a clearly identifiable profile.”
Norma Cronin also welcomed the announcement by the Department of Health and Children of its plans for a strategic review of tobacco policy to be undertaken as a priority.
The OTC has taken a number of publicans to court since the 2004 Public Health (Tobacco) Acts was introduced in 2004.
Through the EHOs, it rigorously policed smoking areas in pubs, pubs themselves and even pub decor for infringements of the Acts. Traditional pubs sporting 50 year-old enamel tobacco advertising signs were not safe from the attentions of the OTC.
And in failing to provide a definitive guide to what constituted a legitimate smoking area, the OTC left it to EHOs around the country to interpret the somewhat wooly legal definition in existence as they saw fit, leading to widespread diversity of acceptable standards for pub smoking areas.

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