Tobacco Free Ireland
The Irish tobacco control programme is being proposed as a national policy ‘intervention’ which demonstrates many of the known elements of successful tobacco control, is putting those elements into real action and is demonstrating tangible results for smoking prevalence. Ireland was the first country in Europe to implement the smoke-free legislation in workplaces and was pivotal in negotiating and supporting the recent EU Tobacco Products Directive in its presidency in 2012. Ireland has committed to the introduction of standardised packaging of tobacco products and legislation relating to smoking in cars when children are present is also approved, awaiting implementation. The Tobacco Free Ireland policy was published in 2013, the first policy published in the context of the Healthy Ireland Framework for Health and Wellbeing 2013-2025.
The policy includes commitments that: policy implementation be guided by a clearly articulated action plan; a whole-of-government approach be taken with all government officials, employees of state agencies and members of any government branch responsible for setting and implementing tobacco control policies and for protecting those policies against tobacco industries interests.
The main areas of action relate to: the protection of children and denormalisation of smoking; legislative compliance and regulation of the retail environment; monitoring of tobacco use and prevalence; protecting people from tobacco smoke; offering help to quit tobacco use; warning about the dangers of tobacco; raising taxes on tobacco products; building national and international partnerships.
The commitments made in Tobacco Free Ireland go further than many other European countries, particularly in the context of promotion and expansion of smoke-free campuses and the development of licensing systems relating to the sale of tobacco. In addition, Ireland has committed to introduce standardised packaging of tobacco products, in line with considerable evidence supporting this measure as a means to deter young people from taking up smoking and to stimulate and support quit attempts. The tobacco control programme deliver specific actions in the context of the World Health Organisation MPOWER model, including a far-reaching, evaluated and comprehensive national smoking cessation awareness and support programme and an accredited national brief intervention training programme for smoking cessation. The Irish government has consistently continues to action its commitment to rigorously defend legal challenges to tobacco control legislation developed in the context of Tobacco Free Ireland in the courts.