Smoking is responsible for 6,500 deaths in Ireland each year and 35% of people aged 18 to 29 continue to smoke, new research on smoking patterns in Ireland has revealed.
Almost half of all respondents had smoked cigarettes at some point in their lives, and 29% reported being current smokers. Smoking was more common among younger adults.
The research, which was prepared by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) as part of SLAN 07 (National Survey of Lifestyle, Attitudes and Nutrition) and announced by Minister for Older People and Health Promotion, Áine Brady TD, also found that 23% of men and 16% of women in Ireland have quit smoking. This means that a lot of future disease and death has been averted, according to Prof Ruairí Brugha of RCSI.
Almost three quarters of smokers had attended a GP in the previous year, but only 38% of smokers reported that a doctor or health professional had discussed ways of giving up smoking with them. It is important that health service providers are supported to use every opportunity to encourage people to stop smoking, Prof Brugha said.
The Irish Heart Foundation (IHF), responding to the research, urged the Government to step up and tackle smoking with increased funding for smoking cessation services so more people do not die from preventable cardiovascular disease as a result of smoking.
IHF Chief Executive Michael O’Shea said: “The latest report clearly proves the lack of a concerted approach to encourage smokers to quit. We call on the Government to invest more in smoking cessation services and to significantly increase the price of tobacco in all future budgets."
ASH Ireland welcomed the research which it said highlighted a number of areas of concern especially in regard to women and smoking, which will require further analysis.
Dr Angie Brown, Chairperson of ASH Ireland said: “As we learned from the initial publication the Slán 2007 survey, smoking prevalence is at 29% and this is extremely high and we must continue to tackle this unacceptable prevalence with every means at our disposal to include price, education, legislation and cessation assistance”.
The Smoking Patterns in Ireland report is available on line at http://www.dohc.ie or http://www.slan06.ie.
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