Budget 2022 a ‘triple whammy against children’s health’

By June Shannon Policy News   |   12th Oct 2021

Irish Heart Foundation responds to Budget 2022

The Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) has criticised Budget 2022 as “a triple whammy against children’s health,” following a failure to use tax measures to sufficiently tackle increasing youth smoking, the growing popularity of e-cigarettes among teenagers, and a childhood obesity crisis made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Director of the Advocacy at the Irish Heart Foundation Mr Chris Macey said this was symptomatic of a complacent Government attitude towards critical threats to our children’s future health.

Mr Macey said, “Our teen smoking rate is on the rise for the first time in a quarter of a century and there has been huge growth in vaping that may be fueling the upsurge in youth tobacco use. In addition, the WHO predicted Ireland was on course to become the country with the highest obesity rate in Europe even before the pandemic sparked an increase in junk food consumption and reduced physical activity levels.

“But the Government has missed the opportunity to address these issues through a more significant increase in tobacco tax; the introduction of tax on e-cigarettes to deter young people from vaping; and a broad sugar tax incentivising food companies to reduce high added sugar content in food products such as sweets, confectionery and breakfast cereals.”

" We need to do a lot more to reduce this massive toll of avoidable death and protect the future health of our children,”

Chris Macey, Director of Advocacy , The Irish Heart Foundation

“The Government’s own research estimates that 85,000 of this generation of children in Ireland will die prematurely due to overweight and obesity; while almost 6,000 people die here every year due to smoking addiction – which is more than have sadly died due to the pandemic. We need to do a lot more to reduce this massive toll of avoidable death and protect the future health of our children,” Mr Macey added.

In its pre-Budget submission, the Irish Heart Foundation called for commitments to:

 

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budget budget 2022 childhood obesity e-cigarettes smoking sugar tax vaping

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