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Almost 6,000 people in Ireland died from the effects of smoking in 2016

Ash Ireland today urged people to consider giving up smoking in the new year.

Image: smoking image via Shutterstock

CLOSE TO 6,000 people in Ireland have died from the effects of smoking in 2016.

Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) Ireland said today that this is despite the reduction in smoking prevalence in recent decades.

The organisation pointed out that close to 200 people will have lost their lives on our roads over the same period and there will “rightly be in outcry at this unnecessary loss of life – yet the remarkable loss of life associated with smoking is largely ignored”.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that close to six million people will die worldwide because of smoking this year, with 600,000 of those losing their lives due to the effects of passive smoke.

“The new year is a good time for people to consider quitting smoking and I encourage them to do so. Many people quit for good at this time each year. For most people they will make a number of attempts before finally quitting – so I would encourage those who have tried before to try again,” commented Dr Patrick Doorley, Chairman of ASH Ireland today.

He said there are also economic benefits for smokers who decide to quit. A 20-a-day smoker will spend just over €4,000 of cigarettes annually. The overall cost of smoking in Irish society is also quite significant; costing the state well over €1.6 billion annually, with €506m spent on direct healthcare costs.

“There have been many positive developments in the fight against tobacco in 2016. In February we learned that the introduction of plain packaging by the Australian Government had reduced smoking prevalence in all age categories. In November ‘big tobacco’ lost its appeal against the introduction of plain packaging in the UK, where plain packs have already begun to appear on the shelves,” Doorley said.

“In Ireland we have lost some time with the full roll out of the plain packaging legislation, however, the final legislative process will be completed in the new year and it is vitally important that the government then push ahead and get the plain packs on the shelves as a matter of urgency.”

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