Press Release

Minister welcomes Global Smokefree Partnership 2007 Award

The Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney TD is pleased to announce that Ireland had received another award for its leading role in tobacco control. Ireland, Finland and New Zealand have been awarded the Global Smokefree Partnership’s Extraordinary Award, for their exceptional and outstanding commitment as Key Facilitators in developing the guidelines on Article 8 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). These guidelines on protection from exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke, give national and local governments clear direction to establish smoke-free environments. Ireland had a significant role in the development of the guidelines which were adopted unanimously at the Conference of Parties to the WHO FCTC in Bangkok last July.

Commenting on the award the Minister said that she “is delighted that Ireland is still leading the way in tobacco control, not just in our own country but also worldwide”

The award will be presented this evening (10 September 2007) at the “Towards a Smokefree Society” Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. It recognises outstanding leadership and excellence in promoting effective smokefree policies worldwide and validates and encourage actions to promote smokefree policies.

Background

The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is an initiative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in response to the global epidemic of tobacco addiction. It is the first binding international treaty that provides an agreed approach to tobacco control at a global level in order to protect public health and reduce deaths from tobacco related illness. About 7,000 deaths occur each year in Ireland due to tobacco related illness while 500,000 people die in the EU as a result of consuming tobacco.

The Convention addresses all aspects of tobacco control – the traditional health interventions such as advertising and sponsorship bans, passive smoking and retail licensing. It also addresses economic and trade issues including taxation policy, international trade and smuggling. Other areas include product specification and issues of compensation and liability.

Ireland is a strong advocate of an effective Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and has consistently advocated a strong line on tobacco control both nationally and internationally. The FCTC will play a key role in the development of a comprehensive and effective tobacco control strategy in Europe and globally.

Under Article 8 of the WHO FCTC, guidelines were prepared to provide for protection from exposure to tobacco smoke. These guidelines give national and local governments clear direction to establish smoke-free environments.