Mammoth task to make Ireland tobacco free by 2025

By June Shannon Policy News   |   1st Aug 2018

Bold action required to make Ireland tobacco free by 2025

Bold action is required to reach the goal of making Ireland tobacco-free by 2025, the Head of Advocacy at the Irish Heart Foundation has said.

Commenting on the latest annual report from the Tobacco Free Ireland Action Plan, which was launched recently by the Minister for Health, Mr Chris Macey welcomed the progress to date, but said there was still a “mammoth task” ahead in pursuit of the goal of making Ireland tobacco free by 2025.

“Bold action is required to achieve this target, including even bigger increases in tobacco tax; a major escalation in programmes to help people quit; more funding for advertising campaigns and further efforts to denormalise smoking, particularly among teenagers following the completion of plain packaging legislation,” Mr Macey said.

Stopping smoking is the single most important step you can take to live longer, and it greatly reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke.

"There is still a mammoth task ahead in pursuit of the goal of making Ireland tobacco free by 2025,"

Mr Chris Macey, Head of Advocacy , Irish Heart Foundation

The 2017 annual report for the Tobacco Free Ireland Action Plan was launched last week by the Minster for Health Simon Harris and Minister for State at the Department of Health Catherine Byrne.

Tobacco Free Ireland was launched under the Healthy Ireland framework in 2013 and sets a target for Ireland to be tobacco free (a smoking prevalence rate of less than 5%) by the year 2025. A high-level action plan for Tobacco Free Ireland was published in March 2015 and one of these actions committed the Department of Health to publish an annual report on the implementation of the plan.

Commenting on the Report, Minister Harris said, “I am delighted to see the progress that has been made to date in the implementation of the recommendations in Tobacco Free Ireland.  That the World Health Organisation (WHO) awarded the Department of Health a prestigious World No Tobacco Day Award for its achievements in the area of tobacco control in 2017 is testament to the work being carried out. Most people who smoke wish they had never started smoking and want to stop, for themselves and for their families. That is why we must continue to prioritise and enhance the supports and encouragement people need to quit smoking once and for all or to never take up the habit in the first place.”

"We must continue to prioritise and enhance the supports and encouragement people need to quit smoking,"

Minister Simon Harris, TD, Minister for Health

The 2017 Annual Report outlined a number of key achievements in 2017 which included: the completion of legislation to provide for standardised packaging of    tobacco products, the continuation of an annual Healthy Ireland Survey and the Health Behaviour in School Children Study which will give up-to-date reliable data on the prevalence of smoking throughout the whole population, the publication of HIQA Health Technology Assessment of smoking cessation, the development by the HSE of the new QUIT campaign and the enhancement of supports for smokers who wish to stop smoking, and the increase in the price of tobacco products in Budget 2018.

Smoking is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. One in every two smokers will die of a tobacco-related disease.

There is information and support available to help you quit smoking or you can call the Irish Heart Foundation helpline on 1800 25 25 50.

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