Home > Healthy Ireland survey 2023 - summary report.

Ipsos B&A. (2023) Healthy Ireland survey 2023 - summary report. Dublin: Healthy Ireland, Department of Health.

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The Healthy Ireland Survey is conducted annually, with a representative sample of the population aged 15 and older living in Ireland. The sample size is typically in the region of 7,400 - 7,500 people. Fieldwork to date has been conducted on behalf of the Department of Health by Ipsos B&A.
The annual Survey gives an up-to-date picture of the health of the nation, reporting on many health-related lifestyle behaviours. This is the eighth set of findings and adds to the data collected in previous Healthy Ireland Surveys, published from 2015 – 2019 and 2021 - 2022. The data from Healthy Ireland Surveys is used to underpin policy development and implementation, to monitor, measure and evaluate progress in implementing various elements of the Healthy Ireland Framework, as well as to meet international reporting obligations, including to the OECD, the EU and the WHO, and to provide information to researchers. The 2023 Report includes data regarding smoking, alcohol and drug usage rates, mental health, social connectedness and suicide awareness, general health, antibiotic awareness and health service utilisation. A representative sample of people aged 15 and older living in Ireland were interviewed between October, 2022, and April, 2023.


  • 18% of the population are current smokers, with 14% daily smokers and 4% occasional smokers. These figures are the same as those reported in 2021-2022.
  • Smoking is higher amongst men (21%) than women (15%) and higher amongst those who are unemployed or have not completed the Leaving Certificate.
  • 33% of the population are ex-smokers. 49% of those who have smoked in the past year have attempted to quit smoking, with 23% of this group successfully quitting smoking. 58% used willpower alone, 25% used e-cigarettes, and 19% used nicotine replacement therapy.
  • 8% of the population currently use e-cigarettes either daily (5%) or occasionally (3%), with a further 12% reporting they have tried them in the past but no longer use them. In 2022, 6% were current users of e-cigarettes.
  • A fifth (20%) of women aged 15-24 use e-cigarettes either daily or occasionally; the rate for men of the same age group is 16%.

Alcohol consumption

  • 70% of individuals aged 15 or older report consuming alcohol during the past 12 months. This is lower than the 75% prevalence rate reported in 2018, before the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Almost three-quarters (73%) of men report drinking alcohol in the past 12 months, compared to 67% of women.
    38% of people drink at least once a week. This is broadly the same as measured in 2021 (37%), but lower than 2018 (41%). 43% of men drink weekly compared to 34% of women. These gender differences are broadly aligned with 2018.
  • 21% drink multiple times per week – similar to 2022 and 2018 (21% and 23% respectively).
  • Men are more likely than women to binge drink (37% and 12% respectively), with younger people more likely to do so than older people (15-24 year olds: 36%, 75+ year olds: 7%).

Alcohol information

  • 12% of all respondents and 14% of drinkers report they often or always see health messages when looking at alcohol packaging, while 59% of all respondents and 53% of drinkers report that they never see health messages on alcohol packaging.
  • Alcohol content labels (28%), warnings about drinking alcohol while pregnant (14%), and consumption warnings (13%) are the most common health messages that respondents notice.

Drug prevalence

  • 21% of respondents report lifetime illegal drug use; 7% report illegal drug use in the last year, and 3% report illegal drug use in the last month.
  • The most popular illegal drugs used within the last year are cannabis (5.9%), cocaine (1.9%), ecstasy or MDMA (0.8%), magic mushrooms (0.8%) and ketamine (0.4%).
  • 13% of respondents report lifetime use of sedatives/tranquillisers. 7% report last year use, with 4% of those reporting last month use.
  • Of those who have used sedatives/tranquillisers, 91% said they were all prescribed, 6% report none were prescribed, and 4% report that some were prescribed and others not.
  • Of those who have used sedatives/tranquillisers, men (13%) were more likely to take non-prescription sedatives/tranquillisers than women (4%).

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