Health is Everyone's Business

World No Tobacco Day 31st May

World No Tobacco Day- we all have a role play in encouraging children not to smoke

Today, (Friday, 31st May) is World No Tobacco Day and the HSE is highlighting the continuing threat smoking causes to children and the important role we all have to play in encouraging children and young people not to smoke.

The number of young people who smoke in Ireland has decreased a lot. 23% of young people aged 10- 17 smoked in 1998 and only 8% smoke now. This is good news but it still means that around 1 in 10 young people smoke.

The Health Behaviour of School Aged Children Study (HBSC) collects data every four years about the health of children aged 10- 17. The HSE Tobacco Research Group carried out an analysis of the 2014 study. They found that young people who smoke are over three times more likely to report poor or fair health.

Young people from families where people smoke in the home are 3 times more likely to smoke than those from non-smoking homes. Smoking was not allowed in over three quarters of the homes of schoolchildren and 62% of family cars. Growing up in a home where adults smoke makes young people more likely to become regular smokers themselves.

Young people learn from what they see in the world around them. We all have a role to play by the example we set to young people. One of the ways we can do this is by making smoking something which is not a normal part of everyday life.

Second-hand smoke (SHS) is a Class A carcinogen and exposure to it is a serious health risk. Children’s bodies are still developing and this makes them very vulnerable to the effects of second-hand smoke.

Smoking in cars is a particular concern because SHS levels can be very high. This is because cars are enclosed spaces. Leaving a window open while often perceived as a measure to reduce exposure does not reduce the risk.

If you are a parent who smokes, one of the best things you can do for your own health and the health of your children is to quit. Quitting can be difficult for some people but there is lots of help available to make it easier. You don't have to go it alone - there is lots of free, non-judgmental support available from the HSE Quit team to help you.

The HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme works with organisations to create smoke-free environments . Some initiatives this year include:
• A partnership with Athletics Ireland. This involves promoting smoke-free sport at its championships and national events.
The launch of Limerick City and County Council’s #NotAroundUs initiative to promote smoke free environments across the county to denormalise smoking for young people in playground and other family spaces.
• Smoke-free GAA clubs, smoke-free matches and smoke-free GAA grounds

Free help and advice for anyone who wants to quit smoking is available from the HSE’s Quit service
• Freephone 1800 201 203 to get help to quit or to find out about local stop smoking services in your area.
• Freetext QUIT to 50100 Get started on
• Find local HSE QUIT support groups on or by calling the QUIT team Tweet the QUIT team @hseQUITteam
• Join the Facebook page


Healthy Cities 21st Century Healthy IrelandWorld Health Organisation Regional Office for Europe


Health Promotion Services, HSE West,
2nd Floor, Clinical & Administration Building Block A,
Merlin Park Hospital, Galway 

 Tel: 091 737251 


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