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SMOKE ALARM; EXCLUSIVE What Irish celebrities think of the fag ban..

Byline: FIONA WYNNE and MELISSA BLANCHFIELD

LIKE the rest of us, the rich and famous will have to stub out their cigarettes on March 29.

A lot of stars quit years ago as the perils of smoking were highlighted by doctors.

Bono stopped in the late 1990s when doctors told him cigarette smoke would damage his singing voice.

Talkshow host Marian Finucane, known for her husky voice, also beat her addiction.

But some have clung to the habit of chilling out with a pint and a cigarette.

Ministers Brian Cowen and Joe Walsh and models Glenda Gilson and Katy French usually light up in the pub.

And Gerry Ryan admits he can't resist a good cigar when out socialising.

Corrie star Keith Duffy, singer Sinead O'Connor, soccer pundit Eamon Dunphy and Colin Farrell are all habitual smokers.

Ronan Keating, former Miss Ireland Yvonne Ellard and comedian Deirdre O'Kane are vehemently anti-smoking.

We asked some of Ireland's best known smokers how they feel about the ban.

news@irishmirror.ie

FAIR CITY STAR JIM BARTLEY

I THINK the ban will help me an awful lot and for that reason I am not against it.

I smoke about 20 a day at the moment but I have cut back a good bit.

I enjoy a cigarette with my pint after work but I will try a nicotine sucker or something to take my mind off the cravings.

I would love to kick the habit for good but I must admit I do love my fags. At least if I can't smoke in the pub I will cut down on the number I smoke and that will obviously be a good thing.

DUBLIN MAYOR ROYSTON BRADY

I HAVE been trying very hard not to smoke, but I do have the odd cigarette when I am out having a drink. I could go without a fag for three weeks, but then I would love one when I'm in the pub.

I used to smoke but I lived in New York for a few years and I gave up because I couldn't do it any longer.

I am going to use Lent and the smoking ban as an opportunity to stop smoking for good.

I am not prepared to stand outside a pub to have a cigarette.

MISS IRELAND BOSS MAGS HUMPHRIES

I AM completely against the ban. I think it's OK to ask people not to smoke in the workplace, but a pub is entirely different.

I've been smoking for quite a few years and I can't imagine not being able to have a cigarette with a glass of wine in a pub.

It's just ludicrous, I was in Spain recently and people there laughed when I told them we wouldn't be able to smoke in pubs soon.

It's not part of the Irish way of life, it's against our culture and it's not good news for me.

2FM DJ DAVE FANNING

WHEN I'm out having a drink, I like nothing more than having a fag, but that's the only time, except if I'm having a bad day, then I'll give in.

But I am delighted about the smoking ban and can't wait for it to come in.

We are starting the transition period, it's always hard to start something but in 2025 people are going to look back and say, 'You mean you were allowed to smoke in the pubs in 2004', it just won't be heard of.

Smoking is absolutely pointless and I'm glad somebody is doing something to stop it.

JUNGLE QUEEN KERRY McFADDEN

WHILE Kerry was battling away with the Bushtucker trials on I'm A Celebrity, she enjoyed nothing more than a cigarette after a stressful day.

A friend said: "In total, Kerry smoked about 10 fags in the jungle, they were one of her treats.

"She became so dependent on them that she made every cigarette last for as long as possible.

"Kerry treated them with care as they were her only bit of luxury.

"But outside the jungle she would only really have the odd one in the pub.

"The ban won't really affect her that much."

MODEL ROBERTA ROWAT

I THINK the smoking ban is awful, it's like we are losing all our rights.

If you want to go out and have a few drinks and a cigarette you should be able to.

I guess I'll cut down because I don't really have a choice. I would smoke about 10 a day.

A lot of people have given up recently, but it will be tough to kick the habit. My plans for the next month are to smoke as many as I can and have as much fun as possible for as long as possible.

COMIC BRENDAN O'CARROLL

THE smoking ban is a half-hearted attempt. The Minister for Health pretends he cares about the health risk from cigarettes.

Minister Martin is using the lighting up of cigarettes hoping it causes enough smoke to screen the debacle of our health service.

If he really believed in the smoking ban why doesn't he make cigarettes illegal.

Then I'd have some respect for the Minister. It's a minister we need not a nanny.

MARTIN CULLEN MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT

CIGARETTES are my outlet and although it's a pathetic addiction, I enjoy one with a cup of coffee.

I don't take a drink and there are many people like me who enjoy a cigarette.

I'd like to see smoking rooms with proper ventilation and a gradual phasing in of the ban. But when it goes ahead I'll support it fully.

TODAY FM DJ IAN DEMPSEY

THE ban is happening, it's not going to be reversed so, bring it on.

I think there are a majority of smokers in Ireland who would, like me, be interested in cutting down or giving up completely and this will be an incentive.

I smoke far too much and welcome the ban. If it's properly enforced it just might make us all lose interest in the smokes.

For a while I think smokers will use the outdoor areas in pubs and clubs a lot, but as the months and years go by we will do it less frequently as our bodies are trained to be less addicted.

CAPTION(S):

LAW'S A DRAG; Kerry would smoke the odd cigarette in the pub
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 21, 2004
Words:1053
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