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Smoke Free Mann 1 July 2004

Patrons of pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés will soon be noticing signs of a new Island-wide initiative called Smoke Free Mann. With the issue of smoking in public places hitting the headlines and legislative changes occurring in many countries around the world, the Isle of Man Government has been busy developing the new scheme. ‘Smoke Free Mann’ aims to encourage more smoke free areas in the hospitality industry, promote more choice for customers, and protect people from the dangers of secondhand smoke. The initiative will promote establishments which voluntarily develop smoke free areas and will also provide information about the risks of secondhand smoke to employers, employees and the general public, via local media over coming months.

The initiative is led by the Public Health Directorate of the Department of Health and Social Security, in partnership with the Environment, Safety and Health Directorate of the Department of Local Government and the Environment.

Restaurants, cafés, bars and pubs will soon receive a brochure about Smoke Free Mann, and will be able to apply for a series of awards depending on their smoke free status. Establishments that have a no smoking area, such as a bar area or room, or are completely smoke free, will be able to apply for a Smoke Free Mann Award.

Anita Imberger, Health Promotion Officer, said:

"People may be surprised at the number of establishments on the Island that are smoke free. We already know of 19 totally smoke free places, which will be receiving the Island’s first Platinum Awards. Several other establishments also have smoke free restaurant or bar areas. The feedback from these businesses about the impact of their smoke free policies has been very positive."

Establishments signing up to the scheme will be promoted through a new Smoke Free Mann brochure, and highlighted in next year’s Food Directory. They will receive information and support, an award certificate, and signage defining smoke free zones in the form of coasters and table tent cards.

Evidence indicates that businesses benefit from going completely smoke free or providing smoke free areas. Large studies show the vast majority of people, including smokers, feel that smoking should be restricted at work, in restaurants and other public places. Other studies show that smoking in restaurants and pubs deters many more customers than it attracts. Businesses that have gone smoke free have benefited from better health of workers, less absenteeism, lower cleaning and decoration costs, lower risks of fire, reduced insurance costs, and helping their staff and public reduce or stop smoking.

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