The Health Service Executive (HSE) is reportedly considering a ban on the sale of tobacco in order to eliminate smoking in Ireland.
According to The Irish Times, a complete ban on the sale of tobacco, as well as a reduction in the number of outlets permitted to sell such products are two of the strategies being explored by the HSE.
The news follows just a month after New Zealand's government said that it would introduce a law next year that would see anyone born after 2008 unable to buy cigarettes or tobacco products in their lifetime.
Another option reported by the newspaper that the HSE are considering is making the major tobacco companies pay for massive health costs shouldered by the State caring for people who are sick or dying as a result of nicotine addiction.
Surveys are to be conducted early next year, which will in turn factor into a report for the Tobacco-Free Ireland Strategic Programme Plan 2022, which is a government policy which demands that the prevalence of tobacco smoking in Ireland be less than 5 per cent by 2025.
The research is to explore levels of public support for banning or severely limiting the sale of tobacco products, possibly to pharmacies only.
It should be noted that Tobacco products are defined as anything containing tobacco for inhaling; this excludes nicotine products such as e-cigarettes.
A study published on the website ERJ Open Research, noted that between 1995 to 2015, teen smoking decreased from 41 per cent in 1995 to 13.1 per cent in 2015, while SimSmoke modelling suggested that the 5 per cent 2025 target was achievable in this group.
However, in 2019, current smoking (smoked in the past 30 days) increased overall from 13.1 per cent in 2015 to 14.4 per cent in 2019, with the increase being greater in boys than girls (16.2 per cent versus 12.8 per cent).
The authors wrote: "We saw an increase in current cigarette smoking associated with an increasing use of e-cigarettes."
It concluded that this trend, if allowed to continue, could prove detrimental to the Tobacco-Free Ireland plan, adding.
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