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Healthy Ireland

NNA Ireland has passed comment on the publication of the latest survey from Healthy Ireland, something that shows smoking is up and vaping is down

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The latest survey from Healthy Ireland has been published, showing that the smoking rate has risen from 17% in 2019 to 18%. This comes alongside a decline in the vaping rate to 3% in this year’s results from a recorded 5% in 2019. New Nicotine Alliance Ireland (NNA Ireland) has questioned how this has happened.

The Healthy Ireland Survey is an annual survey conducted with a representative sample of the population aged 15 and older living in Ireland. The sample size is typically in the region of over 7.500 people. Fieldwork to date has been conducted by Ipsos MRBI.

The main findings of the 2022 Healthy Ireland Survey are summarised below:

  • 18% of the population are current smokers, 14% smoke daily and 4% smoke occasionally. 25- to 34-year-olds are the age group most likely to smoke, as was the case in all survey waves between 2015 and 2019
  • men are more likely than women to smoke across all age groups with the differential being widest among those aged 25 to 34. Just over a third (34%) of men and 14% of women in this age group are smokers
  • over a quarter (27%) of men in the 25-34 age group are daily smokers, compared with 10% of women of the same age. The equivalent proportions in the 2021 survey were 20% and 16% respectively
  • 46% of all who smoked in the last 12 months have attempted to quit; 23% of those who attempted to quit in the last 12 months were successful
  • 3% of the population have used e-cigarettes, with a further 3% reporting have tried them in the past but no longer use them. Usage of e-cigarettes is highest among those aged under 25 with 6% in this age group currently using them

Can we say that the concerted campaign against e-cigs by tobacco control in Ireland has caused this? Maybe not,” says NNA Ireland. “We can ask why the U.K smoking results for 2021 at 13.3% for smoking and e-cig use at 7.7% is so much better than ours and if the difference in policy towards vaping has been a factor.”

NNA Ireland says vaping is seen as a good thing in the UK, citing this quotation: “The decrease in the proportion of current smokers may be partly attributed to the increase in vaping and e-cigarette use. Data from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) have shown regular use of a vaping device has increased in 2021 and the highest usage was among those aged 16 to 24 years.”

Mark Murphy, Advocacy Officer with the Irish Heart Foundation commented on the figures: “Unfortunately, we have seen yet another year of no further progress in reducing the rate of smoking among the general population, meaning that nearly 1 in 5 people nationwide continue to smoke. What’s most worrying however is that we have seen a significant jump since last year in smoking among 25-34-year-olds. Evidently, we cannot continue on our current trajectory and the government needs to do much more to deter initiation and support those already smoking to quit.”

Clearly Murphy supports the notion of promoting vaping to smokers then?

No.

He says there is the “gateway effect that e-cigarettes pose to eventual smoking, the fact that those under 25 years of age are the highest users of e-cigarettes is concerning. To halt and reverse these deeply alarming trends, bold measures such as increasing the legal age of sale of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21, and vastly increasing resources to cessation services, are urgently required.”

NNA Ireland comments: “Luke Clancy of the Tobacco Free Research Institute of Ireland described the UK policy as ‘stupid’ on the radio recently. Who looks stupid after today’s figures? None so blind as those who will not see.”

References:

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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