Minister Donnelly and Minister Feighan welcome publication of the 2021 Annual Report of Tobacco Free Ireland Action Plan
Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, and Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan today welcomed the publication of the 2021 Tobacco Free Ireland Annual Report.
Tobacco Free Ireland is Ireland’s national tobacco control policy and sets a target for Ireland to be tobacco free by the year 2025. A high-level action plan for Tobacco Free Ireland was published in March 2015 and each year the Department of Health reports on the ongoing implementation of the plan.
The Annual Report outlines several key achievements in 2021, despite the disruption that continued to be caused by the COVID - 19 pandemic during the year. These include:
- The "Not Around Us” Campaign, where local groups implement smoke free spaces, has continued to grow. Local Authorities in Wexford, Galway, and Meath launched their campaigns in 2021, which promote smoke free campuses in playgrounds and parks.
- Excise duty on tobacco products was raised by 50 cent in the Government budget. The majority of cigarette brands now cost more than €15.
- More than 7,000 inspections were carried out by the HSE Environmental Health Service monitoring retailer compliance.
- 80 HSE staff trained as intensive Stop Smoking Advisors in 2021, including 9 We Can Quit Community Facilitators.
- Further development of ‘Healthy Choices 2’, the pilot substance misuse module of the Junior Cycle SPHE resource aimed at second year students.
Minister Donnelly said: “I urge anyone that is thinking of quitting to seek help. Stopping smoking remains one of the best decisions a person can make for their health and the HSE QUIT service is available to anyone who needs support to take that first step.
The Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill will bring us closer to the goal of a tobacco free Ireland and I am committed to its introduction. The Bill will ban the sale of tobacco products at places or events intended for children and will prohibit the sale of tobacco products from self-service vending machines and temporary premises. We will also prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18. It is important that we use all the tools available to us, legislative, educational and enforcement, in order to protect people from the harms of tobacco.”
Highlighting the importance of initiatives at community level, Minister Feighan said:
‘’We continue to make progress towards a tobacco – free future for all of Ireland but especially for our young people. The continued popularity of community – led campaigns for tobacco free environments in cities and towns across the country means that smoking can become increasingly removed from the lives of our children. By educating young people on the dangers of tobacco and increasing access to smoking cessation programmes we can reduce the numbers of people who smoke and ensure that our children live their lives free of this addictive product.’’
Notes for Editors
The HSE QUIT service provides personalised, free support by phone, email, SMS and live chat. Smokers can free call 1800 201 203 or visit www.QUIT.ie for stop smoking tips and resources, a free QUIT Kit, and to create a QUIT Plan or read other people’s stories. Peer-to-peer support is available on the QUIT Facebook
A copy of the report can be viewed here.