A decade of smoke-free workplaces proves just how much can be achieved in a short-space of time, Nessa Childers MEP said this morning from The Royal College Of Physicians in Dublin. But there is still much to do, she added.
‘I remember the smoking ban being sneered at around the time of its introduction. All sorts of people claimed it was unworkable. But here we are ten years later and the legislation has proved to be nothing short of trailblazing for other EU countries,’ Ms Childers said from Dublin’s city centre.
‘We should be very proud of this country’s achievements in the area of tobacco control – but I also think we should now be building on those achievements further.’
Along with Health Minister James Reilly, and Senator and Consultant Oncologist John Crowne, Ms Childers was attending a symposium held in association with ASH Ireland, Tobacco Free Research Institute Ireland and the Faculty Of Public Health. The event marks the tenth anniversary of the introduction of workplace smoking legislation.
‘Cigarettes are increasingly stigmatised – and I applaud that,’ Ms Childers remarked. ‘And I also welcome the recent advancements that have been made at European level: flavoured tobacco and branded packaging will soon be banned while picture-focused warnings will become standard.’
The independent politician added: ‘The Government needs to continue to do everything in its power to curtail smoking rates and drive down the lingering appeal of cigarettes among younger people.’
Earlier this year, Irish Cancer Society research showed that eight out of every ten smokers in this country want to quit.
Health Minister James Reilly has said that he plans to make Ireland tobacco free by 2025. Since the ban came into effect on 29 March 2004, smoking prevalence in Ireland has dropped from 28 to 21 per cent.