Home > Almost 7 per cent drop shows smoking ban is working, insists Cancer Society.

[thejournal.ie] Almost 7 per cent drop shows smoking ban is working, insists Cancer Society. (27 Aug 2013)

External website: http://www.thejournal.ie/workplace-smoking-ban-105...

The Irish Cancer Society is insisting laws like the workplace smoking ban are helping alter attitudes towards the habit, and have resulting in a significant drop in smoking prevalence.

A working paper published by the ESRI has claimed that the ban – introduced in June 2004 – had “little or no effect on reducing smoking habits” amongst employed people.

The report, published last month on the think-tank’s website, said that the introduction of the law had provided employed smokers with an extra incentive to quit, and aimed to discover if this was incentive enough for people.

However, based on 2008 figures, the researchers found that the majority of workers were undeterred: “In fact, the evidence suggests a significantly larger decrease in smoking prevalence among the non-workers relative to the employed”.

According to the report, 22.9 per cent of workers smoked in 2002, but five years later that number was up to 24.8 per cent. Amongst those not employed, there was a 0.5 per cent drop in the same period.

Responding to those findings, the Irish Cancer Society’s Kathleen O’Meara says that the most up-to-date data, which monitors the entire population, shows that since the introduction of the ban, the national prevalence of smoking has fallen from 28.5 per cent to 21.7 per cent.

“That’s a 6.8 per cent reduction which is a phenomenal achievement and shows our health legislation is working,” O’Meara told TheJournal.ie.

“The thing is the smoking ban was never designed to help people quit – it was always about protecting workers from second-hand smoke.

“At the time when it was being debated there was a substantial dip in smoking prevalence, as a result of the high level of debate around the dangers of smoking.

“That highlights the need for ongoing reminders and ongoing media campaigns around smoking.”

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