Smoking Ban in Ireland Has Improved Music Quality in Bars

by VR Sreeraman on Sep 30 2007 11:23 AM

Ireland's smoking ban has not just improved the air quality in its famous pubs, but has also boosted the quality of music sessions for drinkers, doctors reported Friday.

Specifically it has helped musicians clean up their traditional instruments, clogged up with years of dirt in smoke-filled pubs, so they can produce clearer sounds in fug-free bars.

The pub session, where musicians gather to play traditional music together, is commonplace throughout bars in Ireland where they play a central role in social life.

Instruments include the accordion, concertina, melodeon, and Uilleann, or Irish bagpipes, all of which are bellows-driven instruments.

Doctors at Dublin's St Vincent's Hospital carried out a survey of people involved in the cleaning, repair, maintenance and renovation care of accordions.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, John Garvey and colleagues said they wanted to check the impact of the smoking ban on the quality of traditional Irish music played in the smoke-free pubs.

They managed to contact six of the seven Irish experts who work with the instruments.

All said there was a strong smell of cigarette smoke from accordions played in a smoke-filled environment when they are opened. Soot-like dirt was deposited throughout the instrument.

"One repairer commented that the deposition of dirt could be substantial enough to affect the pitch of the reed.

"Two others claimed that if a musician tended to play in a particular key, that this could be determined from the distribution of dirt around particular reeds."

All the repairers were categorical that these signs had definitely improved in accordions they had worked on since the introduction of the smoking ban in Ireland.

The doctors concluded the smoking ban has been "music to the ears of the people of Ireland."

In March 2004, Ireland outlawed smoking in every workplace including pubs and restaurants and even on fishing boats and in company cars.

Anyone found breaching it faces a fine of up to 3,000 euros (4,254 dollars) and pubs run the risk of ultimately losing their licence.