Greater awareness needed on damages of smoking

Greater awareness needed on damages of smoking

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cigarettesIndependent Clare TD, Michael Harty has backed the decision as part of Budget 2017 to increase the cost of cigarettes.

There has been a fifty cent rise in the price of cigarettes which means the cost of a twenty pack now equates as roughly €11. It was the only price increase announced by Finance Minister Michael Noonan as part of Budget 2017. Cigarettes have risen in cost for the past five Budgets.

Dr Michael Harty believes adding fifty cent wasn’t enough to tackle the dangers associated with smoking.

Speaking in Dáil Éireann he said “It is one of the most destructive habits one can take up. It is a huge health problem. It amazes me how many people smoke in the Houses of the Oireachtas. The smoking area is well occupied most days of the week. The health effects of smoking are incontrovertible. The price should have been increased by €1. We should have put an extra 50 cent on cigarettes and taken 50 cent off the prescription charge, which would have been a far more progressive health measure”.

A greater awareness of the ill effects is required according to the Clare TD. “Education is the way to go on dealing with the cigarette issue. The cost of cigarettes is one element in getting people off smoking, but education in primary and secondary schools is also very important. The pressure from young children who come home to their parents having learned of the dangers of smoking in school is very significant. Education is a key aspect of reducing the health hazard posed by cigarettes.

“Cigarettes are a drug of addiction. They are very addictive. If one has tried to get people off cigarettes, one will know it is very difficult. It is a social, psychological and physical addiction. If one can prevent that by stopping people smoking, all the better. There are social aspects to smoking. It is a social expression of one’s individuality and youth to take up cigarettes. It is anti-establishment. We should tackle smoking in that sense as well as by banning completely the advertising of cigarettes. If one looks at the success of the smoking ban introduced in 2004, one sees that it was self-policing. It was an instant success”.

He concluded “While we are not discussing other drugs this evening, alcohol and sweet drinks are also huge social issues. We should introduce an awareness of alcohol, which is probably the single most destructive drug in Ireland, vastly outweighing that of illegal drugs. It was disappointing that there was no increase in the excise duty on alcohol this evening.

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