"Progress made" towards making Ireland tobacco-free by 2025 2 weeks ago

"Progress made" towards making Ireland tobacco-free by 2025

In practice, this will mean a smoking prevalence rate of less than 5%.

Progress has been made towards making Ireland tobacco free by 2025, the Department of Health said today (9 September).

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The update comes as Health Minister Stephen Donnelly and Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy Frank Feighan welcomed the publication of Tobacco Free Ireland's 2020 annual report.

Tobacco Free Ireland is the country's national tobacco control policy, which previously set a target for Ireland to be tobacco free by the year 2025.

This would involve a smoking prevalence rate of less than 5% in the country.

The action plan was first published in March 2015 and each year the Department of Health reports on its ongoing implementation.

Despite the disruption caused by Covid-19, the latest report outlines what the department described as "several key achievements" in 2020 to implement the plan.

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These include:

  • the inclusion of information on the dangers of tobacco use in Healthy Choices 1, the first substance misuse module of Junior Cycle Social, Personal and Health Education, aimed at first-year students
  • the launch of a new QUIT marketing campaign by HSE National Communications and the HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme, called The Last Stop
  • the completion by the Health Research Board of three comprehensive evidence reviews on electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products commissioned by the Minister
  • a further increase of 50 cent on a packet of cigarettes with pro-rata increases on other tobacco products in Budget 2021

"By working to remove smoking from daily life in Ireland and educating young people on the dangers of tobacco, while making cessation assistance as widely available as possible, we can continue to build on the promising results we have seen in recent years," Donnelly said in a statement.

"I urge anyone that is thinking of quitting to act now. Stopping smoking remains one of the best decisions a person can make for their health.

"The last 18 months has further highlighted the importance of being proactive about our own health and the health of those around us. The HSE QUIT service remains available to anyone that needs it."

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The HSE QUIT service provides personalised, free support by phone, email, SMS and live chat.

Smokers can free call 1800 201 203 or visit the service's website for tips and resources to stop smoking.