Press Release

Minister Reilly honoured at WHO recognition for his fight against harm caused by tobacco

Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly, TD, is honoured to have been formally recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for his work on tobacco control. Today (28 May 2014)  the World Health Organisation, as part of their annual World No Tobacco Day initiative, identified Minister Reilly as a key  international figure in the fight against the harms caused by tobacco (see http://www.who.int/tobacco/wntd/awards2014/en/). The WHO highlighted his work  during Ireland’s Presidency of the EU on the Tobacco Products Directive , as well as his work in ensuring the development and implementation of Tobacco Free Ireland (TFI). TFI includes many important measures such as the introduction of standardised packaging and the  banning of smoking in cars when children are present.

“ Whilst it is a great honour for me personally to be recognised by the World Health Organisation, it is also a great honour for everyone  who works in tobacco control. This includes those in the  Department of Health, the HSE and the NGO sector and the many health care professionals throughout the country who work tirelessly to reduce  the terrible harm that tobacco use inflicts on our population” the Minister said.

“Unfortunately nearly every smoker becomes addicted when they are still children and the reality is that I in every 2 will be killed by a tobacco related disease. Whilst the health services have a really important role to play  in treating the illnesses caused by tobacco use in a timely and professional manner, it is more important that we as a society, do all we can to prevent people from taking up smoking and becoming addicted to nicotine in the first place.  Time and effort spent on tobacco control is one of the best investments we can make for our citizens to ensure that we achieve out twin goals of a Tobacco Free Ireland and a Healthy Ireland”.  

Ends

Notes for Editors

Tobacco Free Ireland provides over 60 recommendations with the overall aim of de-normalising smoking in Irish society. The document also sets out measures to:

  • protect children from the harms of tobacco;
  • enforce, regulate and legislate for tobacco activities and products;
  • educate citizens about the dangers of tobacco;
  • assist those who smoke to stop.

A copy of Tobacco Free Ireland is available here.