Simon Harris launches ‘Tobacco-Free Ireland Action Plan’

Simon Harris

Minister for Health Simon Harris today launched the publication of the 2017 Annual Report on the Tobacco-Free Ireland Action Plan.

Tobacco Free Ireland was launched under the Healthy Ireland framework in 2013. The Tobacco-Free target will see Ireland obtaining a smoking prevalence rate of less than 5% by the year 2025.

Minister Harris introduced the plan today saying,

“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 a 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 support and encouragement people need to quit smoking once and for all or to never take up the habit in the first place.”

Some of the achievements in the 2017 Annual Report are :

  • The recognition by the WHO of the Department of Health’s outstanding contribution to tobacco control in its World No Tobacco Day Awards
  • The completion of legislation to provide for standardised packaging of tobacco products
  • The transposition of European Commission Implementing Acts arising from the Tobacco Products Directive
  • Continued engagement with the HSE and the European Commission in relation to the implementation of the Directive
  • Participation in the development of European Commission Implementing Acts on traceability and security feature systems for 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.

Minister of State at the Department of Health Catherine Byrne who also launched the report and plan with Minister Harris said;

“Smoking is the greatest single cause of preventable illness and premature death in Ireland, killing almost 6,000 people a year. On a positive note, we have seen a significant and continued reduction in smoking prevalence in children which tells us that we are on the right track in how we are tackling that part of the problem.”

“However 22% of the population are current smokers, 18% smoke daily and 4% smoke occasionally, these figures underscore the need to implement all the recommendations in Tobacco Free Ireland.”