World No Tobacco Day – 31 May, 2012

31 May 2012

Today has been designated as World No Tobacco Day by the World Health Organisation (WHO). “On this day we should remember that tobacco use is one of the leading preventable causes of death. The WHO (World Health Organisation) estimates that the global tobacco epidemic kills nearly 6 million people each year, of which 600,000 are people exposed to second hand smoke” said Minister James Reilly.

“During my term as Minister for Health I am committed to working to reduce the number of young people who start the seriously damaging habit of smoking” the Minister said. “I also believe that the vast majority of smokers want to quit and to assist them in achieving this life changing target I want to improve the services available to those who require support”.

"I have recently declared my intention to seek to ban smoking in public such as beaches and parks in order to protect our children. I hope such a move will assist in the process of de-normalising smoking and will help prevent young people from taking up the habit in the first place. I have also supported Professor John Crown's proposed legislation to ban smoking in cars where children are present."

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has selected “Tobacco Industry Interference” as the theme for “World No Tobacco” day. Ireland is one of the many countries which has signed and ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). “The tobacco industry continuously tries to undermine the FCTC and the progress which is being made in many countries in respect of tobacco control” the Minister said “I have been very public about my views of the tobacco industry and I am delighted that the WHO has designated such an important theme for today”.

Ireland, having ratified the treaty, has obligations under Article 5.3 of the FCTC which deals with protecting public health policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry. These obligations relate to Government, government officials and persons employed by state funded agencies among others.

“This week I have written to all my Government colleagues reminding them of our duties and obligations under the WHO Framework in relation to interaction with the tobacco industry. I have asked them to ensure that members of their Departments and organisations under their remit are very much aware of their obligations under the framework”

ENDS

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