Employers should consider organising smoking cessation programmes.

ASH Ireland welcomes research published by the Department of Health earlier today, which give a clear and irrefutable overview of the economic cost of smoking in Ireland. (The research was conducted by ICF International (UK) in association with DKM Economic Consultants, Ireland).

Speaking after the publication of the research today, Dr Patrick Doorley, Chairman of ASH Ireland said, “ASH Ireland welcomes this vitally important research as it give us a clear picture of the significant economic downside to smoking on the individual and on society in general. Tragically we learn that some 5870 Irish citizens die each year because of smoking - a significant increase on the earlier estimate of 5,200.”

Dr Doorley continued, “The research also highlights the major economic loss due to smoking breaks and absence due to smoking related disease. The research confirms a productivity loss of €136 million due to smoking breaks and a loss of €224 million attributed to absence associated with smoking related illness. These figures highlight the need for employers to consider smoking cessation assistance for employees. There is considerable assistance available and many workers who are addicted to nicotine would value and respond to this offer of assistance - and also the opportunity to tackle the smoking addiction in a supportive and community type setting.

“For the first time we have specific Irish based research which confirms the economic cost of treating tobacco related disease. This is now estimated to be €506 million annually. This is broken down into; Hospital based costs €211m, Primary care costs €256m and Domiciliary care costs €40 million. We can imagine what our heath services could do at this time with an additional €506 million to spend in other vital areas.”

Other key findings from the Report/Research as follows:

Cost of litter

The estimated cost of smoking related litter is €69 million

Loss of welfare:
• The loss of welfare from morbidity relating to smoking is estimated at just under €1.5 billion (€1,355 million)

• The loss of welfare from premature mortality has been estimated at nearly €8 billion (€7,657 million)

For media queries please contact Ash Ireland offices. Tel: 0818 305055

International Callers:  00 353 818 305055. Email: info@ash.ie

Or contact Wally Young on 087-2471520