Promoting a tobacco free society


Our Origins

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in IreIand with 5,500 smokers dying each year from tobacco related diseases. Moving towards a tobacco free society will reduce the number of premature deaths from tobacco and result in healthier, longer and better quality lives for many Irish people.

In November 1999, the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children published "A National Anti-Smoking Strategy - A Report on Health and Smoking" which recommended that a national anti-tobacco strategy be adopted in Ireland.

In response the Tobacco Free Policy Review Group was set up to carry out a fundamental review of health and tobacco and make recommendations to the Minister for Health and Children. Their report, Towards a Tobacco Free Society, (published in 2000) which was adopted as Government policy, proposes an integrated strategy for tackling the tobacco problem and promoting a tobacco free society.

The report outlines four key strategic objectives:

  1. To change attitudes
  2. To help people give up smoking
  3. To protect people from passive smoke (ETS)
  4. To focus on children

and recommends a seven tier action plan

  1. Better communication and education
  2. Specific support for smokers to quit
  3. Tougher regulation of the tobacco industry
  4. Further protection against ETS (environmental tobacco smoke)
  5. Building better compliance with the law
  6. Extending ownership
  7. International co-operation

The establishment of an Office of Tobacco Control is one of the measures put forward in the Report. The Office was set up on an administrative basis pending legislation and is currently based in Naas, Co Kildare. The Office received statutory status in May 2002, with the enactment of section 2 of the Public Health (Tobacco) Act, 2002.

Our Functions

  1. To advise the Minister for Health and Children, and assist him or her in the implementation of policies and objectives of the Government, on the control and regulation of tobacco products generally
  2. To consult with relevant national and international bodies on developments in tobacco control
  3. To advise the Minister on any further actions that should be taken to reduce or eliminate smoking or its effects
  4. Organise research and disseminate the results
  5. Coordinate a national inspection programme in cooperation with the health boards
  6. To advise the Minister as required on the manufacturing and marketing activities of the tobacco industry
  7. To perform such other functions as the Minister may assign to the Office from time to time

In addition the Office of Tobacco Control will perform certain specific functions such as the maintenance of a register of retail premises and conduct compliance testing on tobacco products.

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