ASH Ireland welcomes the commencement of the ban on smoking in cars with children.

ASH Ireland welcomes the commencement of the enactment of the legislation which bans smoking in cars transporting children under 18, announced today.  This legislation is a further health initiative, which will help to ensure that our children are protected from the the harmful effects of passive (environmental) tobacco smoke. 

Dr Ross Morgan, Chairman of ASH Ireland said today “ASH Ireland Ireland first raised the possibility of introducing a ban on smoking in cars transporting children with the then Minister for Health, Mary Harney.  During his first few weeks in office, we again raised the possibility of introducing this legislation with Minister James Reilly and he gave a very positive indication in regard to our proposal.  The initiative was then taken up by Senator John Crown and this intervention was hugely important in driving the ASH Ireland proposal to the approval of the legislation and its enactment today”.

There is definitive evidence to show that non-smokers travelling in a car while another person is smoking will be harmed by the toxic chemicals which are released in such a restricted environment.  

Researchers in UC San Francisco have found that this secondhand smoke in cars poses a major health risk and that the toxins found are “thought to be the most important among the thousands in tobacco smoke that cause smoking-related disease”.  

It is also well established that children are particularly vulnerable to such toxins and that adults who suffer from asthma and other respiratory conditions are affected.  

 

17 December 2015
ENDS   

 

European Court Decision facilitates government ‘plain packaging’ initiative

ASH Ireland welcomes a preliminary decision by the European Court of Justice today, which essentially supports the Irish Government plans to introduce plain packaging of tobacco – as already successfully introduced in Australia.

Dr Ross Morgan, Chairman of Ash Ireland and a Consultant Respiratory Physician said today, “ASH Ireland and indeed all of us who support the protection of our nations health welcome this decision by the European Court today. We now look forward to supporting the Irish Government with the introduction of standardised packaging, as a further anti-smoking health initiative. Over 5,200 of our citizens die from the effects of smoking each year – and treating the effects of smoking costs our health services in excess on 1 Billion euro annually – so measures must be taken to ease these dreadful statistics”

Today’s preliminary ruling comes after tobacco companies, Philip Morris and British American Tobacco, brought proceedings against the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).
 
Extract from ruling by the European Court of Justice today, 23 12 15 “Concerning the standardisation of the labelling and packaging of tobacco products, Advocate General Kokott finds that the requirements relating to the shape (cuboid), size and minimum content of cigarette packets are proportionate. They make a particular contribution to increasing the visibility of health warnings and maximising their efficacy”.

 

23 December 2015

Ends

 

 

 

 

 

ASH Ireland urges the Irish Government to uphold its right to introduce progressive health legislation, 31st May 2015

WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY, TOMORROW 31st May 2015

 

On World No Tobacco Day 2015, it is vitally important that all of us bear in mind that since World No Tobacco Day in 2014, 5,200 people have died from tobacco related disease in Ireland and close to €2 billion has been spent on treating tobacco related disease within our health service.  Regrettably in the past year, 500,000 people have died from the effects of smoking within the EU and 6 million people have died worldwide.

Dr Ross Morgan said today, “What is particularly galling is that despite the massive loss of life and the massive health costs associated with smoking, the Irish Tobacco Industry is doing everything possible to block the Irish Government in introducing progressive health legislation.  The decision of the Tobacco Industry, as they had previously done in Australia, to drag the Irish Government before the courts as it rightly proposes to introduce standardised packaging of tobacco, is bitterly disappointing.  It is very clear to all of us in the health service and so many others that the Tobacco Industry has a single focus and that focus is profit and nothing else matters”

Dr Morgan went on to say “There is massive support for the Irish Government’s plan to introduce standardised packaging and that support will continue in the inevitable battle with the Tobacco Industry, which is now emerging in the Irish courts.  The introduction of similar legislation in Australia has proven to be 100% successful, with reduced smoking prevalence, young people generally finding the packs less attractive, no increase in tobacco smuggling, and much less opportunity for the Tobacco Industry to market its killer products to young people.”

Dr Morgan concluded by saying, “In the ASH Ireland presentation to the Joint Oireachtas Committee in 2014, which sat before the introduction of the standardised packaging legislation, I pointed out that tobacco is a unique product, in that it kills 50% of its users and no state or government should be forced into treating tobacco as a normal consumer product.  There is a myriad of established research to show the direct opposite.  I urge the Irish Government to take on the Tobacco Industry and ensure that its right to introduce progressive health legislation is not overturned by a vested interest, which has no regard for the health of the nation and is solely focussed on its profits, irrespective of the consequences.”

 

ENDS

For contact: ASH Ireland:  0818-305055

Wally Young, Young Communications:  087-2471520

 

ASH Ireland welcomes the passage of standardised packaging legislation through the Oireachtas

ASH Ireland today welcomed the passage of the standardised packaging legislation through the Oireachtas.  This is vitally important health legislation and we wish to compliment Minister James Reilly and all members of the Oireachtas who dealt with this important legislation with such efficiency and determination.  It is expected that the Bill will be signed into law later this month.

Dr Ross Morgan said today, “The Government and Oireachtas members are to be complimented on their determination in pushing ahead with this standardised packaging legislation, despite the threats from the Tobacco Industry.  We would also expect that should the industry mount a legal challenge on any aspect of this health legislation it will be vigorously contested.  Similar legislation has proven to be entirely positive in Australia with early indications of reduced smoking prevalence and scientific evidence to show that young people find standardised pack less attractive.” 

ASH Ireland is firmly of the view that the successful implementation of this legislation here in Ireland will set the scene for others to follow in Europe as was the case with the workplace smoking legislation some 11 years ago. 

All of us must recognise that over 5,200 people die from the effects of smoking in this country each year and we spend well over €1 billion annually treating tobacco relating disease.  Theas are dreadful statistics which we must tackle with every means at our disposal and legislative change is a key part of this.

Dr Morgan concluded by saying, “in recent weeks it emerged that some legal companies were advising the tobacco industry and various elements of our health services. This is an apparent conflict of interest which must be examined further and it seems clear that the status quo in this area is entirely unsatisfactory”

ENDS

For contact: ASH Ireland:  0818-305055

Wally Young, Young Communications:  087-2471520

ASH Ireland welcomes the launch of a Bill in the Oireachtas today, by Senators John Crown and Averil Power, which will hopefully lead to the regulation of electronic cigarettes

Like most health focussed organisations, ASH Ireland has been keeping the issue of e-cigarettes constantly under review. Despite an initial hope that these products could be of assistance in regard to cessation, we are now forming a view that this product, which is being marketed forcefully by the Tobacco Industry, may become another addictive product with few benefits and little impact on smoking cessation possibilities. We have noted and responded to the Irish health authorities (HSE) decision to ban e-cigarettes in all its facilities. We have also noted that in some jurisdictions e-cigarettes are being banned, and in other countries such as Ireland, authorities are struggling with the appropriate response. The lack of regulation in regard to manufacture, content levels and marketing is an on-going concern. E-cigarettes, despite their current presentation as an attractive item on the one hand, and less harmful than tobacco on the other, carry nicotine which is highly addictive and can be dangerous if not consumed in appropriate and recommended doses. Some recent publicity is actually highlighting the poisonous qualities of nicotine in the e-cigarette environment.

The lack of definite research in regard to benefits or cessation possibilities in regard to the use of e-cigarettes is an on-going concern, as some years ago there were expectations that such outcomes could have been possible.

As the Tobacco Industry has invested heavily in this product; it will be more difficult to see any agenda other than profit being pursued by the manufacturers.

ASH Ireland will continue to keep the e-cigarette environment under review and we will continue to communicate with the Irish Government in regard to the publication of guidelines and regulation on this product.

Tight regulations on e-cigarettes proposed by senators is most welcome.

 ENDS 

For contact: ASH Ireland:  0818-305055

Wally Young, Young Communications:  087-2471520

Smoking and Pregnancy

ASH Ireland has noted the contents of a report, “Maternal Health Behaviours and Child Growth in Infancy”, published today by the Growing Up in Ireland Study team, which among other things, deals with smoking rates among women who are pregnant. 

The fact that 13% of Irish women continue to smoke while pregnant is of concern, however, we must also recognise that this is a significant decrease on the 28% of pregnant women found to be smoking back in 1999. We have also noted that the smoking rates apply primarily to people in the lower socio economic groups. It is crucially important that support and investment is provided so that these women who continue to smoke during pregnancy can find ways of quitting.  This is a challenge for our health services. 

There is long established evidence to show that babies born to women who smoke during pregnancy are of lower body weight and this of course does raise health issues for the baby at birth and into the future. 

ASH Ireland would of course encourage all persons who smoke to attempt to quit, especially pregnant women, but we also realise that many people will require significant support and assistance to do so.

 

ENDS 

For contact: ASH Ireland:  0818-305055

Wally Young, Young Communications:  087-2471520

Ban on smoking in cars transporting children protects children from other people’s second-hand smoke

ASH Ireland welcomes the passing of legislation, which protects children from other people’s second hand smoke, while being transported in motor vehicles.  This is important health legislation, which hopefully will have widespread support. This legislation concluded its various stages through the Oireachtas on Thursday, 18th December.

Dr Ross Morgan, Chairman of ASH Ireland said, ‘There is definitive evidence to show that non-smokers travelling in a car, while another person is smoking, will be harmed by the toxic chemicals which are released in such a restricted environment.  It is also well established that children are particularly vulnerable to such toxins as their vital organs are not fully developed’. 

The American Cancer Society advises that ‘if someone smokes there (in a car), the poisons can build up quickly. Again, this can be especially harmful to children’.

The US Environmental Protection Agency warns, ‘The developing lungs of young children are severely affected by exposure to secondhand smoke for several reasons including that children are still developing physically, have higher breathing rates than adults, and have little control over their indoor environments’.

Researchers in UC San Francisco have found that this secondhand smoke in cars poses a major health risk and that the toxins found are “thought to be the most important among the thousands in tobacco smoke that cause smoking-related disease”.

Dr Ross Morgan also said “ASH Ireland first raised the possibility of introducing a ban on smoking in cars with the then Minister for Health, Mary Harney.  During his first few weeks in office, we again raised the possibility of introducing this legislation with Minister James Reilly and he gave a very positive indication in regard to our proposal.  The initiative was then taken up by Senator John Crown and this intervention was hugely important in driving the ASH Ireland proposal to its legislative conclusion”.

Note. The American Association of Cancer Research, in research published last month (November 2014) found that ‘Nonsmokers sitting in an automobile with a smoker for one hour had markers of significantly increased levels of carcinogens and other toxins in their urine, indicating that secondhand smoke in motor vehicles poses a potentially major health risk’.  The report went on to state, ‘The nonsmoking passengers showed elevated levels of butadiene, acrylonitrile, benzene, methylating agents and ethylene oxide’.

ENDS 

For contact: ASH Ireland:  0818-305055

Wally Young, Young Communications:  087-2471520

ASH Ireland responds to misinformation about the highly successful plain packaging initiative in Australia

ASH Ireland has noted a statement issued by Forest Eireann today indicating that there is a 36% increase in the number of young people smoking in Australia since the introduction of the plain packaging legislation.  This is simply untrue and a gross misrepresentation of the data published.  What the report actually says in this regard is:

“between 2010 and 2013, there appeared to be a slight rise in the proportion of people aged 12–17 and people aged 70 or older smoking daily, however this increase in daily smoking was not statistically significant and the trend for those aged 12–17 should be interpreted with caution due to a high relative standard error.

The key findings in this report published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare indicate that: “Daily smoking among the general population declined between 2010 and 2013 and has almost halved since 1991 (from 24.3% in 1991 down to 12.8% in 2013).

  1. Smokers smoked fewer cigarettes per week in 2013 (96) compared to 2010 (111).
  2. Dependent children were far less likely to be exposed to tobacco smoke inside the home in 2013 (3.7%) compared to 1995 (31%).
  3. The majority of smokers attempted to make a change to their smoking behaviour in the last year.
  4. Smokers trying to quit or change their smoking behaviour tried mainly due to costs and concern for their health”

The report goes on to say that

“Tobacco smoking in Australia continues to decline. More specifically:

  • In 2013, 12.8% of people in Australia aged 14 or older were daily smokers, declining from 15.1% in 2010 (Figure 3.1)
  • One-quarter (24%) of the population were ex-smokers and this has remained fairly stable since 1998 when the proportion of ex-smokers first exceeded the proportion smoking daily.
  • Since 1991, the proportion of daily smokers has almost halved, and has declined to the lowest levels seen over the 22-year period. There has also been a corresponding rise in the proportion who have never smoked from 49% in 1991 to 60% in 2013.
  • The number of people smoking daily in 2013 fell by approximately 200,000 people (2.7 million in 2010 down to 2.5 million in 2013).”

Dr Ross Morgan said today “It is vitally important that all involved in the current debate on plain packaging rely on facts to support their respective positions.  The introduction of plain packaging has been an outstanding success in regard to a range of smoking related issues in Australia.  This is a vitally important health legislation which based on the Australian experience has the capacity to significantly reduce smoking prevalence in this country and specifically deglamorise the smoking pack in the eyes of young people who may be tempted to take up smoking.  The deglamorising of the tobacco pack is of course a major concern for the Tobacco Industry as any legislation which deglamorises tobacco will ultimately reduce smoking prevalence and profits within the industry”.

ENDS

For contact: ASH Ireland, 0818 305055

Wally Young, Young Communications, 087 2471520

ASH Ireland’s Response to Budget 2015

 

Ash Ireland welcomes the announcement by the Minister for Finance to increase the price of cigarettes by 40c in the 2015 budget published today. Price is recognised by the World Health Organisation and others as the most important way of encouraging smokers to quit and discouraging young people from experimenting with tobacco. The concerns being raised about ‘smuggling and price increase’ are misguided and mainly fuelled by the Tobacco Industry. Smuggling must be tackled as a separate and very serious criminal issue but it should not impinge on health policy and related decisions.

Dr Ross Morgan, Chairman of ASH Ireland said today, “If the Government is to achieve its objective of establishing a smokefree Ireland by 2025 then it must consistently increase the price of tobacco. Significant inroads have been made in regard to smoking prevalence over the past 10 years with current levels at approximately 21.7%, down from 29% in 2004. It would be possible to reduce smoking levels by a further 10% at least in the next 10 years if there are consistent and significant increases in tobacco price, combined with other measures such as the introduction of standardised packaging”.

Dr Morgan went on to say, “Smuggling of tobacco into this country continues to be a significant issue for Government, however, we must also be wary of Tobacco Industry efforts to use smuggling as a reason for not introducing effective measures, which can improve the nation’s health. Smuggling increases consumption and addiction and therefore is of long-term benefit to the Tobacco Industry. There are many examples of jurisdictions where tobacco price has been increased for health reasons and smuggling simultaneously tackled and reduced – such as Australia, New Zealand and Spain”.

ASH Ireland is disappointed that VAT has not been reduced on Nicotine Replacement Patches and that a 50c environmental levy was not introduced on the Tobacco Industry for each pack of cigarettes sold in this jurisdiction, both of which could have been incorporated in the Budget Statement.

“I ask the Government to continue the fight against smoking, especially with such initiatives as the introduction of plain packaging and the banning of smoking in cars transporting children. Over 5,200 of our citizens die each from smoking, and we must reduce this dreadful statistic by de-normalising smoking, educating young people and adults on the risks and above all introducing pro-health legislation”, Dr Morgan said.

ENDS

Further information contact :

ASH Ireland, 0818 305055

Wally Young, Young Communications, 087 2471520

 

ASH Ireland’s response to a judgment by a court in the United States ordering RJ Reynolds cigarette company to pay $23.6bn to the wife of a smoker who died of lung cancer

“This court action and finding in the United States again finds the tobacco industry guilty of manufacturing and selling a product, which knowingly harms and kills people. Over 5,200 people die in Ireland each year form the harmful effects of smoking and €1 billion is spent annually treating tobacco related disease. It is well established that 1 in 2 people who smoke will die because of this. Any action which makes the Tobacco Industry responsible for the product it manufactures and markets so widely, is to be welcomed”.

 

ENDS

For contact: ASH Ireland:  0818-305055

Wally Young, Young Communications:  087-2471520