ASH Ireland welcomes new Board member

Statement from Dr Patrick Doorley, Chairman of ASH Ireland

Prof Shane Allwright has joined the Board of Directors of ASH Ireland
Prof Shane Allwright has joined the Board of Directors of ASH Ireland

All of us at ASH Ireland are very pleased that Professor Shane Allwright, formerly of Trinity College, has accepted an invitation to join the board.

ASH Ireland continually seeks people at board level who have the motivation and expertise to continue the fight against tobacco – and Professor Allwright’s reputation in this field is well established and recognised at national and international level.

Professor Allwright’s work as the lead investigator on a government commissioned study of the impact of the ‘smoking ban’ on the respiratory health of pub workers was the scientific platform on which our workplace smoking ban was introduced.

ASH Ireland is currently involved in a number of projects which can further reduce the impact of smoking and nicotine addiction on Irish society, and we will greatly benefit from the epidemiological experience and expertise of Professor Allwright in our ongoing work.

 

Statement from ASH Ireland – UK Cancer Research Report, published 7th February 2017

Dr Patrick Doorley, Chairman of ASH Ireland said: “ASH Ireland welcomes this report published today on vaping by Cancer Research UK. All additional research information on this relatively new product is to be welcomed, especially from well-established and credible bodies who do not have a vested interest.”

Dr Doorley continued, “It is particularly interesting that the research found that after six months, people who switched from real to e-cigarettes had far fewer toxins and cancer-causing substances in their bodies than continual smokers.  However it should be noted that there was little difference in levels between cigarette-only users and those who continued using real cigarettes alongside vaping.

“The study shows that when compared with full-time smokers, e-cigarette-only users had 97pc lower levels of one toxic chemical, NNAL, that is strongly associated with lung cancer. We must not lose sight of the fact that e cigarette users are still digesting a certain, if reduced level of toxic chemicals and we need longer term research to realise the full implications of this fact.”

Another 5,900 people will have died from smoking in 2016

Despite the reduction in smoking prevalence in recent decades, regretfully, close to 6000 Irish people have died from the effects of smoking in 2016.

Tragically close to 200 people will lose their lives on our roads over the same period and there will rightly be an outcry at this unnecessary loss of life – yet the remarkable loss of life associated with smoking is largely ignored. The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirms that close to 6 million people will die worldwide because on smoking this year, with 600,000 of those losing their lives due to the effects of passive smoke.

Dr Patrick Doorley, Chairman of ASH Ireland said today; “The New Year is a good time for people to consider quitting smoking and I encourage them to do so. Many people quit for good at this time each year. For most people they will make a number of attempts before finally quitting – so I would encourage those who have tried before to try again. People can attempt to quit on their own, or call the National Quitline on: Callsave 1850 201 203.”

Dr Doorley continued; “Not alone are there health benefits for those who quit but also economic benefits. A 20-a-day smoker will spend just over €4,000 of cigarettes annually. This is a significant cash outlay, which could otherwise be used for a range of alternatives, such as holidays, changing the car or a range of other options. The overall cost of smoking in Irish society is also quite significant; costing the state well over €1.6 billion annually, with €506m spent on direct healthcare costs. Quitting is all positive – there are no downsides. As nicotine is addictive smokers must be determined to quit – and thousands of people manage to do so each year.”

Dr Doorley continued; “There have been many positive developments in the fight against tobacco in 2016. In February we learned that the introduction of plain packaging by the Australian Government had reduced smoking prevalence in all age categories. In November ‘big tobacco’ lost its appeal against the introduction of plain packaging in the UK, where plain packs have already begun to appear on the shelves.

 

“In Ireland we have lost some time with the full roll out of the plain packaging legislation, however, the final legislative process will be completed in the New Year and it is vitally important that the Government then push ahead and get the plain packs on the shelves as a matter of urgency.”

ASH Ireland welcomes government divestment

Press Statement, 21 December 2016

ASH Ireland welcomes confirmation from Minister Noonan today (Dec 21) that, ‘Ireland’s Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) has completed the sale of its remaining investments in tobacco manufacturing’. ASH Ireland recently contacted the Minister on this same issue.

Dr Patrick Doorley, Chairman of ASH Ireland said; “We welcome this important announcement from Minister Noonan. The fight against tobacco, which kills close to 6,000 of our citizens annually, must be fought at every level and every opportunity. To invest in the tobacco industry, while also aiming towards a tobacco free society, was as confusing as it was unacceptable.

“All in the health sector will see the Minister’s decision as progressive and a important signal to an industry which manufactures and markets a product, which kills 50% of its users.”

 

Ban on smoking in cars with children

Here is the full response from ASH Ireland Chairman Dr Patrick Doorley when it was put to him by the Irish Daily Mail that no charges have been brought on ‘smoking in cars with children’ since its inception.

 

Dr Patrick Doorley, Chairman of ASH Ireland, said: “ASH Ireland has no information to suggest that the ban on smoking in cars with children is being ignored. We were first to propose this ban in 2008 and we are very pleased that it is now in place. Most people comply with sensible health legislation and we would expect that significantly less children are being exposed to tobacco smoke in motor vehicles since the ban was introduced last year.

“Prior to the ban, one in seven Irish children was being exposed to tobacco smoke in cars, which was totally unacceptable. We expect that research will be conducted shortly on the level of levels of adherence with the ban, and we would expect a positive outcome. ASH Ireland will be keeping this issue under review.”

 

Dr Doorley is quoted in today’s Irish Daily Mail article.

 

Smokefree Third Level Campuses could be the norm in Ireland

 

9th November, 2016: ASH Ireland today (Wednesday) organised a seminar at the Royal College of

Physicians, Dublin to explore ways of expanding Ireland’s smokefree third level campus sector.

 

Both Westport College and Athlone IT are already campus smokefree and both UCD and Trinity

College have commenced the ‘going smokefree’ process. Representatives of the third level sector

attended the seminar from all around the country with presentations from, Westport College,

Athlone IT, Trinity College and UCD.

 

Speaking at the seminar this morning, Dr Patrick Doorley, Chairman of ASH Ireland said, “This

seminar is building on the decisions already taken by Westport College and Athlone IT to implement

a smokefree campus policy.

 

“We want to encourage and assist other colleges in pursuing a ‘smokefree campus’ policy. In the

United States over 1700 third level colleges have gone smokefree and will remarkable success.

 

“Ireland has been a world leader in the fight against tobacco for well over a decade and we now

have an opportunity to take the lead in Europe with this initiative. Denormalisation is a key issue in

the fight against introducing a ‘smokefree policy’ in key locations is key factor reducing smoking

prevalence. We must also remember that tobacco waste is our biggest urban waste, so smokefree

campuses will reduce cost and create a much healthier environment for all.”

 

Also speaking at the seminar today, were Micheál Martin, TD, who as Minister for Health introduced

the workplace smoking ban; anti tobacco campaigner Professor Luke Clancy and Martin Murphy,

Stadium Director at the smokefree Aviva Stadium.

 

Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin TD commented, “The Smoking Ban still stands as an example of

what legislators can achieve for public health if we do the ground work, explain what we’re doing to

the public and then face down the vested interests.

 

“However, one important thing we need to guard against is any sense that the smoking ban was any

sort of an end point in the battle against tobacco.  It was an important breakthrough, but the

tobacco industry continues to work very hard and spend huge sums of money to find new

customers, and develop new ways to get those customers hooked on consuming their products.

 

“All those of us in politics who are interested in developing public health need to remain vigilant.  I

am particularly grateful to the team at ASH for their work in keeping these issues at the forefront of

debate and I look forward to working with them into the future to help Ireland keep leading the way

in the battle against tobacco.”

 

Today’s seminar is in keeping with ASH Ireland’s specific aims that direct its work towards the impact

of disease, disability and death caused by tobacco use in Ireland. This work is especially important as

Ireland moves toward the target date of 2025 for Ireland to become tobacco free.

 

Available for further comment and interview: Dr Patrick Doorley, Chairman.

 

 

 

ASH Ireland welcomes European Commission decision not to renew or extend the controversial agreement with tobacco multinational Philip Morris International (PMI) on tackling the illicit tobacco trade.

07/07/2016

ASH Ireland welcomes yesterday’s (Wednesday) decision of the European Commission to reject renewal or extension of the PMI Agreement with the EU, beyond its current date of expiry – July 9, 2016.

The decision sets a milestone in the fight against illicit tobacco trade. It facilitates the allocation of resources and efforts for implementing more adequate measures as the set out in the global W.H.O. Protocol on eliminating the illicit trade in tobacco.

The PMI Agreement was signed 12 years ago, after the EU brought legal proceedings against the tobacco company for cigarette smuggling. It was intended to end PMI’s complicity in illicit tobacco trade, and introduced annual payments to the EU and its Member States, as well as fines when genuine PMI products were seized in illicit channels.

It was the first of four similar agreements signed with each of the major tobacco companies. After the Commission released a Technical Assessment on the January 24, 2016, which showed `no direct causality` between the PMI Agreement and decreasing numbers of PMI illicit cigarettes, the European Parliament also voiced its opinion, voting for a resolution against any renewal or extension on the  March 9, 2016. It is now clear to all involved in the fight against smoking that the tobacco industry must have no role in self monitoring an industry, which is essentially about profit and the marketing of a product which kills 50% of its users.

ASH Ireland made representations on this specific matter earlier this year on this matter to all Irish MEPs who supported the termination of the PMI agreement.

 

ASH Ireland Chairman meets with Health Ministers

Dr Patrick Doorley, Chairman of ASH Ireland met with Minister for Health, Simon Harris and Minister of State Marcella Corcoran Kennedy at Government Buildings yesterday (Thursday) to discuss a range of tobacco related issues.

ASH Ireland looks forward to a productive working relationship with both Ministers into the future.

Below is the Press Release issued by the Department after the meeting:

Press Release issued by Department of Health, June 2, 2016

Minister Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Minister of State for Health Promotion and Minister Simon Harris, Minister for Health, met with representatives of ASH Ireland today.

Minister Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Minister of State for Health Promotion and Minister Simon Harris, Minister for Health, met with representatives of ASH Ireland today.

At the meeting, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to implementing Government Policy on tobacco, Tobacco Free Ireland.

“Given that approximately 5,870 people die annually from tobacco-related diseases in Ireland, we are committed to continuing to reduce the numbers of people smoking in Ireland,” said Minister Corcoran Kennedy.

“Ireland has been a world leader in relation to tobacco control as well as in our support for public educational campaigns such as the HSE’s influential QUIT Campaign. In place since June 2011, the QUIT campaign has prompted over 600,000 quit attempts and provided support to many thousands of quitters. This hugely successful campaign is complementary to the Government’s policy of a Tobacco Free Ireland by 2025, a policy I look forward to further implementing during my time as Minister of State for Health Promotion.”

ASH Ireland and the Ministers discussed a number of issues including the future introduction of standardised packaging for tobacco, the recent introduction of the Tobacco Products Directive in Ireland, advertising and awareness campaigns and the role of the increased price of tobacco in deterring people from smoking.

“I look forward to working closely with ASH Ireland and other NGOs in our national effort to move towards a tobacco free Ireland,” said Minister Corcoran Kennedy.

//ENDS

Plain Packaging a worldwide issue on World NO Tobacco Day 2016 (31st May)

Statement from ASH Ireland, 30th May 2016

Plain Packaging a worldwide issue on World NO Tobacco Day 2016 (31st May)

In recognition of World No Tobacco Day 2016 (31st May) the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) has asked countries all around the world to focus on the introduction of plain packaging of tobacco.

Dr Patrick Doorley, Chairman of ASH Ireland said today: “We strongly urge the Government to prioritise the roll-out of this legislation in Ireland. The relevant Bill has been published and the legislation was due to come into effect on the 20th of May. This delay causes some concern as the tobacco industry had made its intentions clear – it will do everything possible to thwart this health legislation”

Dr Doorley continued:  “A significant body of evidence, primarily from Australia, now totally justifies and supports the introduction of plain packaging. A review published in Australia in early March found that the implementation of plain packaging legislation ‘has begun to achieve its public health objectives of reducing smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke in Australia, and it is expected to continue to do so into the future’. This comprehensive study was based pre-implementation experimental studies, post-implementation behavioural studies and the recent declines in smoking prevalence and consumption in Australia.”

The main aims of plain packaging legislation are to:

- Reduce the attractiveness of tobacco products;
- Eliminate the effects of tobacco packaging as a form of advertising and
promotion;
- address package design techniques, which may suggest that some products are
less harmful than others;
-       Increase the noticeability and effectiveness of health warnings.

Dr Doorley continued: “It is well established that the tobacco industry spend billions of euro annually on sponsorship, advertising and promotion of its lethal product – and pack design is central to the success of this massive drive to market and sell a product that kills 1 in 2 of its users. Plain packaging legislation combined with other measures will reduce prevalence and save lives. Close to 6,000 of our citizens die each year from smoking related disease and we must continue to everything possible to reduce this dreadful statistic.”

For media queries contact: ASH Ireland  – 0818 – 305055
Young Communications  – 087 2471520

(Interviews: Dr Patrick Doorley is available for interview)

Note to Editors 1:

The Member States of the World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes. In 1987, the World Health Assembly passed Resolution WHA40.38, calling for 7 April 1988 to be a “a world no-smoking day.” In 1988, Resolution WHA42.19 was passed, calling for the celebration of World No Tobacco Day, every year on 31 May.
•       2016 – Get ready for plain packaging
•       2015 – Stop illicit trade of tobacco products
•       2014 – Raise taxes on tobacco
•       2013 – Ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
•       2012 – Tobacco industry interference
•       2011 – The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
•       2010 – Gender and tobacco with an emphasis on marketing to women
•       2009 – Tobacco health warnings
•       2008 – Tobacco-free youth
•       2007 – Smoke free inside
•       2006 – Tobacco: deadly in any form or disguise
•       2005 – Health professionals against tobacco
•       2004 – Tobacco and poverty, a vicious circle
•       2003 – Tobacco free film, tobacco free fashion
•       2002 – Tobacco free sports
•       2001 – Second-hand smoke kills
•       2000 – Tobacco kills, don’t be duped
•       1999 Leave the pack behind
•       1998 Growing up without tobacco
•       1997 United for a tobacco free world
•       1996 Sport and art without tobacco: play it tobacco free
•       1995 Tobacco costs more than you think
•       1994 Media and tobacco: get the message across
•       1993 Health services: our windows to a tobacco free world
•       1992 Tobacco free workplaces: safer and healthier
•       1991 Public places and transport: better be tobacco free
•       1990 Childhood and youth without tobacco: growing up without tobacco
•       1989 Women and tobacco: the female smoker: at added risk
•       1988 Tobacco or Health: choose health

Note to Editors 2
Specifically what the Oireachtas/Government must do as a matter of urgency:
Apply Part 5 of the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016 and amend the Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Act 2015.