World No Tobacco Day 2017 – Tobacco – A threat to development

World No Tobacco Day May 31, 2017

 Statement released by Dr Patrick Doorley, Chairman ASH Ireland

ASH Ireland wholly supports WHO’s theme for World No Tobacco Day 2017 – Tobacco – A threat to development – which is designed to highlight the health and economic harm caused by tobacco addiction and the benefits of controlling the tobacco epidemic.

In Ireland in the last 12 months almost 6,000 of our population died from tobacco related diseases, and on average lost 10 years of life. On a worldwide scale nearly 6 million people die from tobacco use every year, a figure that is predicted to grow to more than 8 million a year by 2030 without intensified action.

Dr Patrick Doorley, Chairman ASH Ireland said: “Tobacco is unique in that it is a product that kills 50% of its users. One in two smokers will die from tobacco related diseases and because it is such an insidious but powerful addiction many children that become addicted do not realise they are until they try and quit.”

The economic damage caused by tobacco in Ireland has recently been outlined in a report by economic consultants DKM and ICF for the Department of Health.  Treatment of tobacco related diseases by the health services costs €0.5 billion annually, the cost of lost productivity is estimated at €1bn, and the monetary value of loss of welfare (premature death, disease and disability) is estimated at €9bn.

Ireland has made good progress in reducing tobacco consumption by supporting smokers to quit, and through strong policies such as tobacco taxation, the workplace smoking ban and banning advertising and as we look forward to plain packaging of tobacco products (September 2017) becoming the law of the land, finally eliminating the last major element of tobacco advertising in this country, ASH Ireland encourages those still smoking to make a concerted effort to quit. If you have tried before and failed, try again.

“The introduction of standardised packaging will remove the last major element of tobacco advertising in this country,” said Dr Doorley. “The cigarette pack is an advertising medium and plain packaging has been shown to reduce the attractiveness of the pack. We now see the results of the introduction of plain packaging in Australia where smoking prevalence is at an all time low among both adults and children (15% and 5% respectively).”

Dr Doorley also expressed his hope that plain packaging might come into effect ahead of the September 30, 2018 deadline: “Even though the hard deadline for the removal of branded packs from the market is September 2018, we have seen in Australia and Britain that the tobacco industry doesn’t actually need the 12 month wash-out period to introduce plain packaging, and perhaps it will be introduced in Ireland before the 12 months are up. Plain packaging will bring us one step closer to the day when our children can grow up free of tobacco addiction.”


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