A study by the Office of Tobacco Control has found that since the introduction of the smoking ban a year ago carbon monoxide levels in non-smoking bar workers have fallen by 45%.

Carbon monoxide levels in the breath of over 80 bar workers were examined before and one year after the ban was introduced for the study, which was carried out by the respiratory laboratory in St James's Hospital in Dublin.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health, Mary Harney, has said that although the workplace ban has been successful, there can be no room for complacency as more than 7,000 people die from tobacco consumption in Ireland every year.

Ms Harney made the comments as she announced details of a new EU awareness campaign aimed at warning children and young people about the harmful effects of smoking.

On the economic impact of the ban, the OTC says that bar sales were already falling before its introduction, with sales down by over 4% for last two years.

However, this is strongly disputed by the Licensed Vintners’ Association which says draught beer sales fell by more than 9% last year and an estimated 2,000 bar jobs have been lost in Dublin alone.