Workshop ~ ASH Ireland and Public Health Policy

Staff and Students of North Dakota State University with Dr Patrick Doorley at the Workshop on Public Health Policy, Dublin, 25th May 2018

Dr Patrick Doorley, Chairperson ASH Ireland facilitated an afternoon workshop in Dublin on 25th May 2018. The workshop for medical students and staff from North Dakota State University consisted of a presentation by Dr Doorley on the work of ASH Ireland, tobacco control, and public health policy in Ireland followed by an interactive question and answer session. Mark Mulally, Learn International, who organised the event thanked Dr Doorley for his time and expertise and said, “It was a hugely informative, interactive and entertaining workshop which the students really enjoyed”.


World No Tobacco Day 31 May 2018


While recognising that Ireland has made good progress over the last decade
in decreasing smoking prevalence among adults and children*, the current
rate of progress is not adequate to achieve the adult prevalence target
of 5% by 2025; as set out by a previous Government.

Dr Patrick Doorley, Chairman of ASH Ireland said today, “We are now
urging the Government to introduce more intensive measures to ensure that the 5%
target is met seven years from now. The good news is that smoking
prevalence among children is at an all-time low and it appears therefore
that we are on track to achieve the target of 5% for children. The
reduction of smoking among young people is bad news for the tobacco
industry as new recruits are required to replace those 6,000 of our
citizens who die from tobacco related disease annually.”

The sad and tragic reality of tobacco addiction is disease, disability
and death. Given that 6,000 people die each year from tobacco-related
diseases,we cannot afford to become complacent about the issue of tobacco

Dr Doorley continued, “In recent years ASH Ireland has driven the
development of smokefree outdoor spaces – in children’s playgrounds, parks, sports
stadia, and higher education institutions. In 2013, the government committed to a
number of measures in its strategy TFI (Tobacco Free Ireland), including
the possibility of banning smoking in some outdoor spaces. We now call on
the Government to implement new anti-smoking measures, particularly in
outdoor spaces that are frequented by children. We hold the view, based on
past experience, that such measures will have the support of the Irish

Additional protective measures against the harmful effects of
environmental tobacco smoke may well be opposed by vested interests.  The
tobacco industry and its allies will strongly oppose these measures in
order to protect its profits, so their position on such health matters
should be entirely ignored.”

For contact: E  or  T 0818 305055

Outdoor areas and secondhand smoke: some facts

Secondhand smoke (SHS), also called environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), is a mixture of two forms of smoke that come from burning tobacco: mainstream smoke (the smoke exhaled by a smoker) and sidestream smoke (the smoke from the lighted end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar, or tobacco burning in a hookah.

Prohibiting tobacco use in outdoor areas such as parks, playgrounds, beaches, access areas, outdoor restaurants and football stadia provides several benefits. As there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, and exposure to secondhand smoke can occur in outdoor areas, bans in areas where people congregate can be justified on health grounds, particularly for those at increased risk of respiratory problems e.g., asthmatics.

Cigarette butts and other tobacco product wastes are the most common items picked up in urban and beach cleanups worldwide. Prohibiting smoking in these areas will greatly reduce cigarette butt litter, thereby enhancing the locations both visually and environmentally, and reducing fire risk.

Only 18 per cent of our population are now daily smokers. The experience in other countries like Canada and the UK is that smoke free outdoor spaces contribute to the normalisation of tobacco free lifestyles, making the healthy choice the easy choice.

“Denormalisation” strategies aim to make smoking-related behaviours less visible. Prohibiting tobacco use in outdoor areas reduces visibility and will also contribute therefore to the reduction of the social acceptability of smoking. Denormalisation of smoking assists young people in making healthy choices around experimenting with tobacco, assists current smokers in considering the decision to quit and facilitates continued abstinence in ex-smokers.

ASH Ireland initiated the ‘outdoor smokefree’ project in Ireland and has been pivotal in its success. Over the past eight years, ASH Ireland has advanced the ‘outdoor smokefree’ project in Ireland through engagement with county councils, national sports bodies, the Office of Public Works, Iarnród Éireann, and the third-level education sector. In line with Irish society becoming better informed on the health risks, there is a general momentum towards ‘outdoor smokefree’; the denormalisation of smoking is widely accepted and the industry has lost its clout with the decision-makers and society.

In Dublin, the Aviva stadium is entirely smokefree and Croke Park is partially so. The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is currently working on a smokfree trial project with a number of its clubs. Over 80% of our public playgrounds are smokefree, as are two third-level education institutions, with others deeply engaged in the ‘going smokefree’ process. Many of our hospitals are now smokefree, an initiative being driven by the Health Service Executive.


One in every two people who smoke will die from a smoking-related disease

Quitting tobacco is the best thing people can do for their health. Tobacco is a very powerful addiction and children become addicted within weeks. People may be unaware that they are addicted until they make an attempt to quit. They may have to make multiple attempts to quit. Many smokers have to make six or more attempts before they finally succeed in giving up smoking and it is not unusual for people to have to make up to 20 attempts to quit.

Tobacco should not be treated as a product like any other. It is the most lethal consumer product ever marketed and, uniquely, kills when it is used exactly as it is supposed to be used. It is reliably estimated that at least one in every two people who smokes will die from a tobacco-related disease.

For more see

ASH Ireland welcomes major international conference on tobacco to Dublin in 2021

ASH Ireland welcomes the ‘The World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH)’ to Dublin in 2021. All involved are to be congratulated on winning the bid for a major international conference, which will bring over 2,500 delegates to Dublin. The Dublin success was announced at the end of the 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health, held in South Africa last weekend. Read more

British American Tobacco whacked with £650,000 fine by HMRC for “oversupplying” Belgium cigarette market

(City A.M., November 13, 2014)


British American Tobacco (BAT) has been hit with a fine of £650,000 by HM Revenue & Customs for oversupplying cigarettes to Belgium, which has substantially lower tobacco taxes than Britain.

Apparently, that causes more low-cost cigarettes to be smuggled into the UK.

According to papers seen by the Wall Street Journal, it is the first time a big tobacco company has been fined for “oversupply of products to high-risk overseas markets”, high-risk markets being classified as those that sell cigarettes much cheaper than in the UK.

The penalty for such practises can be up to £5m. But BAT has rejected the charge of oversupplying Belgium and intends to challenge the fine in court. A pack of cigarettes in Britain will set you back £8.47, whereas in Belgium it costs £4.75, according to the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association.

The Exchequer estimates one in 10 cigarettes sold in the UK is counterfeited, and the government loses as much as £2.5bn each year to the black market. Cigarettes and their producers are seen as an easy target for chancellors seeking to raise money. It has become par for the course in Britain to expect almost every budget to include a rise in tobacco duty.

However, the high price of cigarettes in Britain combined with strong demand has proved an enticing prospect for smugglers. Many cigarette manufacturers fear the scope for black market activity may increase further as a result of the EU tobacco products directive, which will be implemented into national law by mid-2016.

The measures ban flavoured cigarettes, such as menthols, as well as certain pack types like those which contain only 10 cigarettes. In total 45 per cent of the market is set to be impacted by the tobacco products directive.

Article from City A.M.:

Press Statement ASH Ireland 28th March 2013

ASH Ireland welcomes a commitment by Minister James Reilly earlier today that he would bring proposals to the Government to introduce the plain packaging of cigarettes on sale in Ireland.  The Minister made this commitment at the launch of “Healthy Ireland” in the Mansion House.

ASH Ireland is disappointed that the introduction of plain packaging was not included in the Tobacco Products Directive, shortly to be approved within the EU.  However we were always aware that individual countries could proceed and introduce plain packaging of tobacco on an independent basis.  We very much welcome Minister Reilly’s decision to take this independent path as confirmed today.  Minister Reilly will have the full support of ASH Ireland and the entire health sector with his plans to introduce plain packaging.  This will constitute a hugely important health initiative, which will again contribute to the denormalisation of smoking and hopefully contribute to reducing smoking prevalence.

As experienced by the Australian government; the Tobacco Industry will fight Minister Reilly’s health initiative vigorously, however he now has the knowledge that the Australian government fought back and proceeded with this health initiative despite the efforts of the profit driven vested interests.

The bottom line for all of us in Ireland is that 5,200 of our citizens die every year because they smoke – and every effort must be made to reduce this dreadful statistic.  The introduction of plain packaging will certainly be another positive step in the right direction.


For contact: ASH Ireland:  0818-305055

Wally Young, Young Communications:  087-2471520 

Ash Ireland welcomes the appearance of graphic warnings on tobacco packs (31st January 2013)

With effect from Friday next 1st February, the process of implementing the regulations to ensure that graphic warnings will appear on all cigarette packs on sale in Ireland will commence – a most welcome and necessary development.  From Friday all products placed on the market must comply with the legislation and all products on sale in retail outlets must be fully compliant by 1st February 2014.

This is ample evidence to show that health warnings, as we have on tobacco products at present, combined with coloured graphic images, can be effective at discouraging smoking and advising the consumer of the health risks associated with smoking. The Tobacco Industry must now comply with the regulations signed into law by Minister James Reilly on 21st December 2011.

Dr Ross Morgan said today, “we welcome the introduction of these regulations, which will provide all tobacco users with graphic images that will inform them of the realities facing smokers. One in two smokers die as a direct result of their smoking and tragically over 5,200 die in this country each year. The Australian Government recently introduced plain packaging, combined with graphic warnings on all tobacco packs, and we encourage Minister Reilly to follow the Australian example”.


For contact: ASH Ireland, 01-6599451/Wally Young, Young Communications, 087-2471520

Note to Editors:

 A copy of the Statutory Instruments which include the images that will be used are available on the Department of Health website,