Tobacco Control

Since the workplace smoking ban in 2004, Ireland has led European countries in adopting anti-tobacco legislation.

The efforts of successive governments mean that the adult smoking rate in Ireland has fallen to an all-time low of 19%. But smoking remains a killer.

Despite the reduction in smoking rates, smoking remains the chief preventable cause of death and chronic disability in Ireland and so reducing smoking rates in Ireland and supporting people to stop smoking must be a key focus of health policy.

 

Three-pronged approach needed

From extensive research and studies, the Irish Heart Foundation believes that a three-pronged approach is required in Ireland to tackle the deaths and diseases caused by smoking:

1. Price increases for tobacco products,
2. Comprehensive smoking cessation programmes and
3. Stronger smuggling controls.

 

These actions will only have the desired effect if introduced simultaneously.

 

A tobacco tax increase would mean fewer child smokers

The Irish Heart Foundation and the Irish Cancer Society made a joint-call to the Minister for Finance to increase the price of cigarettes by 50c in budget 2017. This would reduce the number of young people smoking in Ireland even further than its current all-time low of 8.3% of 10-17 year olds.

 

To work, a price increase must come with other services

We also strongly advocate that in order to be effective a price increase should not be made in isolation, and that more community-based quit services, more affordable nicotine replacement therapy and greater roles for pharmacists and GPs, should all be delivered on.

The full range of measures sought by the Irish Heart Foundation and Irish Cancer Society are available to read here in our Joint Pre Budget Submission 2017.

 

Plain packaging of tobacco products is on its way

Fewer children will take up smoking as a result of the new law introducing plain or standardised packaging of tobacco products in Ireland. The law will protect children’s health by inserting large graphic warnings of the fatal consequences of smoking on cigarette packs and making it illegal for tobacco companies to use colour, text and packet size to market cigarettes.

On 10 March 2015, President Michael D Higgins signed into law the legislation introducing plain packaging on cigarette packs. The law states that all tobacco manufactured after 20 May 2016 must be in standardised packaging. It allows for a one year ‘washout’ period of old packaging and it will be an offence to sell branded tobacco from 20 May 2017.

You can read more about how standardised packaging works here.

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