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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.

ENDS

For contact: ASH Ireland:  0818-305055

Wally Young, Young Communications:  087-2471520 

Press Statement from ASH Ireland – Ash Wednesday (13th February 2013)

ASH Ireland is deeply concerned about the cost of nicotine replacement therapy in Ireland.  ASH Wednesday is a time when many smokers attempt to quit the habit and they need every encouragement and support to do so.  A major issue confronting Irish smokers is the cost to the consumer of nicotine replacement therapy, when compared to the cost of the same product in the UK and other European countries.

Dr Ross Morgan said today “VAT is being charged at 23% on nicotine replacement patches as compared to a rate of 5% in the UK.  This and other issues is creating a significant price differential between Ireland and the UK.  We have contacted the Minister for Finance and recently spoken to the Minister for Health on this issue, which we believe can be expediently resolved.”

Dr Ross Morgan went on to say, “we are also concerned with the overall cost of the full range of nicotine replacement products.  This is perhaps due to the fact that they are only available from behind the counter in pharmacies and not available off the shelf in a range of retail outlets.  Over the years we have been in contact with the Department of Health, the Irish Medicines Board, the Pharmaceutical Sector and chemists with the view to addressing this cost issue, and we again ask all involved to address this very serious matter, which can be a disincentive to many people who wish to quit smoking.”

It is well established that over 70% of smokers will wish to quit at any given time.  Many people do successfully manage to quit and we encourage people to persist as quitting is not likely to happen at the first attempt.  The health benefits of quitting are almost immediate and there are the obvious cost benefits.

Over 5,200 people die from the effects of smoking in this country every year.  It is estimated that the cost of treating tobacco related illness could be in the region of €1.5 billion annually.  It is vitally important to encourage young people not to commence the habit and it is also imperative that we continue to encourage and assist smokers to quit.

On a separate matter ASH Ireland welcomes the good news in regard to young people and smoking published recently in the Health Behaviour in Schoolchildren Survey (HBSC).    The report shows a reduction in smoking by 12 to 17 year olds from 15.3% in 2006 to 11.8% in 2010.  http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/163857/Social-determinants-of-health-and-well-being-among-young-people.pdf

ENDS

For contact: ASH Ireland:  01-6599451

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”.

ENDS

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, www.doh.ie

Ash Ireland welcomes moves to introduce legislation to ban smoking in cars transporting children (13th January 2013)

ASH Ireland welcomes indications from the Department of Health today (in the media) that legislation to ban smoking in cars with children could be enacted later this year.

Dr Ross Morgan, Chairman of ASH Ireland said today, “we welcome these indications that this important health legislation could now be introduced later this year. ASH Ireland first raised this issue, as a possible health initiative, with Minister Harney in 2005. In April 2010 ASH Ireland met the newly appointed Minister James Reilly and again pushed for this health initiative to be introduced – and then received a commitment from the Minister that he would proceed as soon as was feasible. We now again encourage the Minister to ensure that there are no further delays with a proposal, which has been with his Department for over seven years”

Dr Morgan went on the say, “The international evidence to support protecting children in cars from passive smoke is overwhelming. Passive smoke contains carcinogens and other pollutants, which are particularly harmful to children. One study shows that 1 in 7 Irish children are affected by passive smoke in cars and it is important that these children are protected by legislation. This is a health initiative which is gaining momentum all around the world and who could possibly argue against it”

 Ends

For contact:  ASH Ireland:  0818-305055

Wally Young, Young Communications, 087-2471520