Smoking takes 6,000 lives a year – World No Tobacco Day

By June Shannon Policy News   |   31st May 2019

The Irish Heart Foundation and the Irish Cancer Society call on Government to do more to help people quit smoking

The Irish Heart Foundation has joined forces with the Irish Cancer Society to call on the Government to do more to help smokers kick the habit.

The call was made by the charities to mark World No Tobacco Day today (Friday 31 May).

Tobacco remains the largest cause of preventable death in Ireland and is responsible for almost 6,000 people dying every year. Smoking related deaths are mainly due to cancers, heart disease and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Dr Patrick Doorley, Chairperson of ASH Ireland Council of the Irish Heart Foundation, called on the Government to invest more in strategies that help people to quit smoking.

“The cost of smoking in Ireland is 140 times higher than the spending on quit services. In 2017, just over €11.8 million was spent on smoking cessation measures compared to the estimated annual cost of smoking to the State totaling €1,653 million. And although the vast majority of Irish smokers want to quit, the amount spent on cessation services is less than 1 per cent of the almost €1,400 million they handed over in tobacco tax during the course of 2017. Greater resources need to be invested in smoking cessation services if we are to meet the Government’s own targets.”

"Greater resources need to be invested in smoking cessation services if we are to meet the Government’s own targets,”

Dr Patrick Doorley, Chairperson ASH Ireland Council , The Irish Heart Foundation,

Ms Averil Power, Chief Executive of the Irish Cancer Society said, “There are currently 850,000 people smoking in Ireland and most of them want to quit. In fact, 4 in 10 smokers have made an attempt to quit in the last 12 months. The Government must do more to help them and follow-through on its commitment in ‘Tobacco Free Ireland’ that only 5 per cent of the population will smoke by 2025. The Department of Health published a detailed action plan on how to reach this target, but now it needs to be resourced and fully implemented to retain Ireland’s position as a global leader in tobacco control.

“Ireland has made some great strides in the battle against tobacco. The introduction of positive public health measures such as the workplace smoking ban, plain packaging and point of sale restrictions have contributed to falling numbers of smokers here. In the last three years alone, the number of Irish smokers has decreased by 80,000 people. We know quitting smoking can be difficult. It’s also a different experience for every smoker: some people succeed on the first try, others try many times before they quit for good. We want to ensure that the supports are available to everyone when the time is right for them.”

For information and support on how to quit smoking, call the HSE Quit Team on Freefone 1800 201 203 or visit www.quit.ie

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