Friday, 17 December 2010

Ireland's abject failure

Anyone remember when Ireland was tobacco control's jewel in the crown? The Irish smoking ban of 2004 was reported around the world and was supposed to lead to a "cultural change" that would see smoking gradually fizzle out. Keen to 'lead the way', Ireland has since followed the tobacco control blueprint to the letter. It's banned packs of 10, banned tobacco displays in shops and put more tax on cigarettes than any other country in the world.

The result, as previously reported here, is now official...

More smokers now than before 2004 ban

More people are smoking now than before the ban on smoking in public places was introduced six years ago, the Dáil has heard.

Minister of State for Health Áine Brady pointed to figures showing that 29 per cent of the population smoked despite the ban, the abolition of packs of fewer than 20 cigarettes, the ending of in-store displays and advertising, and the cost of cigarettes, which at €8.55 a pack “are the highest in the world”.

Although, to be fair, Ireland's slavish devotion to tobacco control policies has had some effect:

Sinn Féin health spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin described tobacco smuggling as a “huge and growing problem”

And let's not forget all those pub closures. All in all, a colossal disaster for all concerned except, perhaps, for the tobacco industry. I've said it before and I'll say it again. It's a damn good job it's not a results-driven business.

8 comments:

Mark Wadsworth said...

Ah yeah, but those smoking ban measures take a couple of years to kick in. Or something. A bit like globular warmening, it's always just round the corner.

Anonymous said...

Ireland needs to get to grips with the mouth problem, which can be tackled very quickly and cheaply with superglue. And before you pro-smokers respond, can I remind you that if you agree to act normally, you will have nothing to fear. Messing about duty and bans on their own was never going to work.

Xopher said...

None of what you claim can be true!
Anti-smoking experts told us this was not happening when they gave evidence to the Health Committee and there was even a trip over there to meet respected dignitaries. There were no closures, the air was cleaner, everybody liked it, there was as much pleasure smoking outside the pub as inside and they were 99.9% compliant and so we got our ban as well and we're told we all love it.

Anonymous said...

Don't you somentimes feel you're living in a parallel universe?

Jay

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris, ASH UK is claiming that Irish smoking rates are in fact falling. JB.

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Ian Downey said...

The 2004 Irish smoking ban was to create smoke-free workplaces, not to reduce the amount of smoking. Insofar as there has been almost 100% compliance with the ban, workplaces in Ireland are now smoke-free. Thus the ban has succeeded.