Ireland risks slipping back to pre-smoking ban levels

IRELAND is in danger of slipping back to pre-smoking ban levels because of the Government’s failure to implement a comprehensive anti-smoking strategy, warns the Irish Heart Foundation.

“The number of smokers in Ireland is frightening at 29% and each one faces a double risk of stroke and a triple risk of heart attack,” said IHF chief executive Michael O’Shea.

“Where once we led the way on this serious health issue, we are now in danger of reverting to pre-smoking ban levels in our population because of the Government’s failure to implement an anti-smoking strategy,” he declared yesterday – World No Tobacco Day.

The IHF is particularly worried about the 56% of young women smokers aged between 18 and 29 in the lower-income groups.

While there was a decline in smoking prevalence after the Smoke Free at Work legislation in March 2004, the decline has reversed, especially among young people. The results of the SLÁN survey 2007 published last October, showed the rate of smoking here decreased from 33% in 1998 to 27% in 2002 and then began to rise in 2007 to 29%.

Mr O’Shea said the good news was that seven out of 10 smokers wanted to stop.

The IHF wants the Government to help smokers to quit using significant increases in tobacco tax,anti-smuggling measures and smoking cessation programmes.


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