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Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 11 May 2021

How do Ireland's smoking levels compare with Europe? Pretty good actually

Today is World No Tobacco Day.

Image: Shutterstock/Sabphoto

IN THE PAST three years Ireland’s smoking levels have taken the largest drop in Europe.

That’s according to the latest Eurobarometer survey which recorded a drop of 8 percentage points in smoking prevalence in Ireland since 2012.

The survey suggests that 21% of people now smoke in Ireland compared to a European average of 26%, Europe as a whole dropped from 28% to 26% since 2012.

Meanwhile figures recorded by the Health Service Executive for 2014 put the prevalence in Ireland at a lower level of 19.5%. This compares to 21.5% for 2013 and equates to over 70,000 fewer smokers in 2014 compared to 2013.

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr James Reilly said, “During the period covered by these surveys we have been leading the campaign in Europe to introduce Plain Packaging and repeatedly warning of the significant dangers of smoking.

“We will continue to highlight the health risks of smoking which causes 5,200 premature deaths annually in Ireland and the considerable health benefits of quitting.”

Teenage smoking

The Eurobarometer survey notes that across Europe the age at which young people start to smoke remains unchanged at 17.6.

shutterstock_112126841 Source: Shutterstock/Edyta Pawlowska

Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety said: “Figures show that the fight against tobacco is not won, particularly amongst the young.

It is unacceptable that Europeans continue to be attracted to smoking when they are teenagers.

Dr Reilly added “Our Plain Packaging legislation is being challenged in the courts by tobacco companies, as we expected would be the case, but we are determined to introduce this measure, in particular to dissuade young people from taking up this killer habit in the first place.

“We will vigorously defend our Plain Packaging legislation in the courts and look forward to cigarette packets showing the true potential horror of becoming addicted.”

The news comes as a smoke free campus comes into effect for all property of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

The policy will apply to all staff, visitors and external contractors from next Tuesday and will include the outdoor area of the properties.

Read: How do you get smokers to quit? Pay them>

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