ASH Ireland Response to Budget 2014

ASH Ireland is very disappointed the Government has increased the price of cigarettes by a mere 10 cents in the budget. Price is recognised by the W.H.O. 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; however, it should not impinge on health policy and related decisions.

Dr Ross Morgan, Chairman of ASH Ireland said today, “Tobacco smuggling must be tackled before the market is flooded with cheap cigarettes and a consequent increase in smoking and tobacco related illness. The current cost to the state of treating tobacco related disease annually is well over €1 billion euro. This will increase if prevalence, which has been reduced to 21.7%, is allowed to rise again.

Dr Morgan went on to say, “Smuggling of tobacco into this country has now reached major proportions and must be tackled head on by the government. 13% of cigarettes smoked in this country are non-duty paid; the loss in revenue to the exchequer is over €400 million per annum. 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 50 cents 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 year 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 welcomes the decision by the European Parliament supporting the Tobacco Products Directive

ASH Ireland welcomes a decision by the European Parliament today which supports the vast majority of the proposals contained within the Tobacco Products Directive.  We particularly welcome the fact that the Directive will now increase the size of graphic warnings to 65% to be cover both sides and top of cigarette packs.  We are particularly pleased that the Minister for Health, James Reilly, has followed the Australian model and commenced the process of introducing plain packaging on all tobacco packs.

The ban on menthol cigarettes which will come into force in 2022 is also to be welcomed, despite the nine year delay attached to this measure.

We are somewhat disappointed that slim cigarettes have not been banned, as these cigarettes are specifically designed to attract women smokers.

ENDS

 

For contact:  Wally Young, Young Communications, 087-2471520

ASH Ireland: 0818 305055

Majority of County and City Councils go ‘Smoke-free’ in Children’s Playgrounds

ASH Ireland contacted all County and City Councils two years ago encouraging them to voluntarily introduce smoke-free playgrounds in their local areas.  There has been a hugely positive response to this request.

Dr Ross Morgan said today “we can now confirm that 75% of County Councils and 60% of City Councils have decided to introduce smoke-free playgrounds in response to our request.  This is a most positive response and we fully appreciate that this initiative has been taken voluntarily by these bodies, not requiring any changes in local or national regulations.  Many County Councils have either implemented a non-smoking policy or have made a decision to proceed with this initiative in the near future.  We do hope that all County and City Councils will embrace and implement this initiative in the near future”.

 

Young people are influenced by the normalisation of smoking.  When smoking for adults is restricted, especially in areas used by children, this not just creates a cleaner and healthier environment, but also has an impact in regard to the denormalisation of tobacco.  Tobacco litter is well established as being our main urban waste; and it is important that this waste does not form part of our children’s play areas.

ASH Ireland also welcomes some indications that our third level sector may be positively examining the ‘smoke-free campus’ initiative. Dr Ross Morgan said today, “we raised the ‘smoke-free campus’ idea with all our third level colleges in 2011, on the basis that this has now become a major health initiative in the United States – and would be a major statement in the denormalisation of tobacco and smoking. We again urge all our third level colleges to introduce smoke-free campuses and lead the way with this initiative in Europe”.

ENDS

For contact:  Wally Young, Young Communications, 087-2471520

ASH Ireland: 0818 305055