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Smoking ban in Ireland has had no effect on smokers, says chief medical officer

Wed 19th October, 2011

The smoking ban has not had any appreciable effect on the number of smokers in Ireland, the chief medical officer at the Department of Health has said.

Dr Tony Holohan said smoking was still at the same level as it was before the introduction of the ban.

“We really haven’t shifted prevalence of smoking by any appreciable extent beyond what it was prior to the implementation of the ban; we are at about 28 to 30 per cent,” Dr Holohan said.

He told the 'Innovations in Tackling Obesity' forum that the department was at an advanced stage of its tobacco policy review and would bring its results to Government.

He also said there was a need to look at the inter-relationship between different lifestyle factors, including tobacco use, alcohol consumption and obesity, and their effects on health.

“People who smoke just don’t smoke, they are also people who are overweight and they are also people who are high consumers of alcohol and we need to understand the interaction of those,” Dr Holohan said.

There was no point in sending out messages about tobacco one day, alcohol the next and obesity on the third day. “We need a much more integrated positive message in relation to health.

“It shouldn’t always be about ‘don’t do this’ and ‘don’t do that’.”

Source: Irish Times (19 October 2011)

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