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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 624 - Tobacco control measures [28819/15].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 624 - Tobacco control measures [28819/15]. (14 Jul 2015)

External website: http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/Debates%20A...


624. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health his plans for an island-of-Ireland approach to a class action against the tobacco industry for its promotion of the use of an addictive product that has and continues to contribute directly to the premature death of over 5,000 Irish citizens annually and that costs the very stretched health budget in excess of an estimated €1 billion every year; his plans to raise the proposal with his Northern Executive counterpart; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28819/15]

 

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): As the Deputy has pointed out, smoking is the greatest single cause of preventable illness and premature death in Ireland, killing over 5,200 people a year. Figures from the National Office for Tobacco Control indicate that the overall prevalence of cigarette smoking in Ireland during 2014 was 19.5%.

 

However, I am pleased to say that Ireland has been in the forefront of tobacco control legislation in Europe, and ranked second of thirty-four European countries in relation to tobacco control initiatives. Tobacco Free Ireland, the latest policy in the area, sets a target for Ireland to be tobacco free by 2025. In practice, this will mean a smoking prevalence rate of less than 5%. The two key themes underpinning the report are protecting children and the denormalisation of smoking.

 

A high level Tobacco Free Ireland Action Plan was published in March 2015. It outlines the responsibilities, actions necessary and timelines for the implementation of the recommendations in Tobacco Free Ireland.

While the Government has no plans at present for the type of legal action the Deputy describes, tobacco control is one of the areas on which we have ongoing dialogue and co-operation with our colleagues in Northern Ireland under the auspices of the North South Ministerial Council. Officials working in the area in my Department are also in regular informal contact with the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland on tobacco related issues.

 

Waiting time from assessment to commencement of treatment

1 - 6 months

7 - 12 months

13 - 24 months

25-48 months

Over 48 months

TOTAL

HSE Dublin Mid-Leinster

1,140

875

1,432

1,208

199

4,854

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