Thursday, May 31, 2007

50 Irish Kids Every Day of the Year

Ban On 10-packs Of Cigarettes Comes Into Force
Thursday, 31st May, 2007

The abolition of 10-packs of cigarettes from today will help stop children experimenting with smoking, Minister for State Sean Power has told a conference in Dublin.
The one-day Office of Tobacco Control (OTC) conference, "Children, Youth and Tobacco: Causes, Consequences and Action", coincides with the World Health Organization's "World No Tobacco Day" and is exploring ways to curb the high numbers of young Irish people experimenting with tobacco.

Mr Power, Minister for State at the Department of Health and Children, said that Ireland's banning of 10 packs and any confectionery that resembles cigarettes will help prevent children from taking up smoking.
"The majority of smokers become addicted in their childhood and teenage years, and research has clearly shown that price is an important factor in young people deciding not to smoke," he said.

It is estimated 16 per cent of Ireland's young people between the ages of 12 and 17 are regular smokers.
A 2006 OTC study found that 78 per cent of smokers began smoking before age 18 and that 53 per cent began before age 15.

Today's conference is the first of its kind in Ireland and features speeches from world experts on the tobacco industry and tobacco control.. Speaking before the conference opening, Prof Kenneth Warner, dean of public health at the University of Michigan, said the tobacco industry loses over 8,000 customers a year because of people quitting and a further 5,700 who die from smoking-related illness.
"Therefore, for the industry to simply maintain the size of its customer base in Ireland, over 50 Irish kids have to start smoking every day of the year."

Prof Warner said that the banning of "kiddie packs" is just one step of many that needed to be taken. Research in the United States has shown that young people are particularly susceptible to marketing practices such as point-of-sale display in shops and product placement in films and television shows. Ireland has adopted legislation that would prevent point of sale advertising, but it is yet to be implemented.

Health chiefs at today's conference will also be looking at the effects of active and passive smoking. The event at Croke Park is being chaired by Dr Fenton Howell, director of public health, HSE Dublin North-East, and 12 experts, including Prof Luke Clancy of the Research Institute for a Tobacco Free Society.

This Article was provided by Michael McGloin of Ireland.
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