Statement by Mr Sean Power TD, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children at the Launch of 2006 Annual Report of the Office of Tobacco Control

29 March 2007

Speaking at the launch of the 2006 Annual Report of the Office of Tobacco Control today, the third anniversary of the introduction of the Smoke Free Workplaces legislation, Seán Power TD, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children said “that the ongoing success of the smoke-free workplaces has increasingly led the momentum towards smoke-free workplaces across Europe and beyond. Soon the whole island of Ireland will become smoke-free, when Northern Ireland introduces the law at the end of April 2007.

Clearly, the smoke-free workplace legislation is now well embedded in Ireland. Compliance levels of 95% arising from over 32,000 inspections, is indicative of high levels of co-operation from employers and employees, and over-whelming support from the public for this critical public health measure."

The Minister also expressed his gratitude to the staff of the OTC, the Environmental Health Officers of the Health Service Executive, and the Health and Safety Authority who have all played a critical role.

The Minister of State also said “That one of the most effective measures in preventing young people taking up smoking in the first place is the price of tobacco. This is why the Government announced a 50 cent increase in the price of 20 cigarettes in the December Budget. In two months time, the prohibition on the sale of packs less than 20 cigarettes will come into effect, along with a prohibition on confectionery which resembles cigarettes. We believe that such measures can prevent many thousands from taking up smoking in the first place”.

The Minister welcomed the commitment by the Office that children and youth smoking is the top priority for the office 2007.