A Tobacco Free Ireland by 2025! That is the overall aim of a new tobacco policy, Tobacco Free Ireland launched by Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly today (Thursday 3rd October, 2013).
Tobacco Free Ireland provides over 60 recommendations with the overall aim of de-normalising smoking in Irish society. The document also sets out measures to:
· protect children from the harms of tobacco;
· enforce, regulate and legislate for tobacco activities and products;
· educate citizens about the dangers of tobacco;
· assist those who smoke to stop.
Speaking at the launch Minister Reilly said “to make Ireland tobacco free in 12 years is an extraordinary challenge, but if we work together to de-normalise smoking for young people we can do it. And do it we must because for every two young people who become addicted to tobacco one of them will die as a consequence. Let’s not forget that approximately 5,200 Irish people die each year from diseases caused by smoking. These are all preventable, avoidable deaths”. Acknowledging the children and young people present at the launch as “very important guests”, the Minister added “protecting children from the harms of tobacco is the key aim of Tobacco Free Ireland”.
The Minister referred to the Healthy Ireland report which he launched in April of this year which emphasises the need for a “whole of society” and partnership approach in making Ireland healthy. Citing examples of where partnerships were already up and running in the tobacco area the Minister said “ASH Ireland has been working closely with local authorities in implementing smoke-free playgrounds and together they have achieved very positive results – 75% of County Councils and 60% of City Councils are now on board.
Dublin City Council is currently working with the HSE in permitting HSE buildings to be utilised to erect large scale QUIT campaign banners. I am delighted to hear that both UCD and Trinity are considering plans to make their campuses smoke free and I would encourage other third level colleges to follow their lead. By working together we can achieve our aim of being tobacco free by 2025”.