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16/03/2017

Tobacco Free Ireland Report Published

The Minister for Health Simon Harris has welcomed the publication of the 2015 Annual Report on the Tobacco Free Ireland Action Plan.

Tobacco Free Ireland was launched under the Healthy Ireland framework in 2013 and sets a target for Ireland to be tobacco free (that is, with 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 actions outlined.

Commenting, 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. I know that many many people 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 and to never take up the habit in the first place."

The 2015 Annual Report outlines a number of key achievements in 2015, including:

• the commencement of legislation which will protect children from second hand smoke in cars,

• the development of legislation to provide for standardised packaging of tobacco products,

• the engagement with the European Commission to facilitate implementation of the new EU Tobacco Products Directive,

• the further development by the HSE of the QUIT campaign and the enhancement of supports for smokers who wish to stop smoking,

• the engagement of Healthy Ireland with changing social norms around smoking,

• the proactive involvement of the NGO sector in supporting Tobacco Free Ireland actions.

The Minister for State for Health Promotion, Corcoran Kennedy, added: "All of these achievements will help us in our goal of making Ireland tobacco free by 2025 and I commend the work of my Department, the Health Service Executive and the NGO community for their work in this regard.

"Smoking is the greatest single cause of preventable illness and premature death in Ireland, killing over 5,600 people a year. Smoking prevalence in Ireland remains unacceptably high – 23% of the population are current smokers, 19% smoke daily and 4% smoke occasionally. These figures underscore the need to implement all the recommendations in Tobacco Free Ireland."

(MH/LM)

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