Reilly announces plan for tobacco-free Ireland

Thursday 03 October 2013 23.09
James Reilly said smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in Ireland
James Reilly said smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in Ireland

A plan to make Ireland a tobacco-free country by 2025 has been published by Minister for Health James Reilly.

The document outlines 60 recommendations to try to eliminate smoking.

The measures include protecting children from the harms of tobacco, further regulation, education and helping smokers to stop.

A "tobacco-free Ireland" would mean a smoking prevalence rate of less than 5%.

Tobacco would still be available but would cost more.

A detailed action plan, with timelines, has yet to be developed to implement the plan published today.

Minister Reilly said: "Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in Ireland. Each year at least 5,200 people die from diseases caused by tobacco use. This represents almost one in five of all deaths.

"Ireland’s last tobacco control policy was published in 2000. It is timely after 13 years since the introduction of that policy to now take stock of what we have achieved and to focus on what areas need to be tackled to continue the reduction of our smoking rates."

Reacting to the plan, a spokesman for smokers' group Forest Éireann said: "It is morally wrong to denormalise smoking because that means stigmatising consumers of a legal product enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of adults throughout the country.

"Smokers contribute a huge amount of money to the Government through tobacco taxation. Denormalising tobacco will drive more and more people to the black market and the fringes of society."

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