Smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable illness and premature death in Northern Ireland, killing around 2,300 people each year. NICHS believes it is imperative, therefore, that government takes all reasonable measures possible which it believes may reduce the prevalence of smoking.
Smoking in Cars with Children
Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke commissioned opinion polling in 2014 relating to smoking in cars when children are present. 82% agreed when asked whether they think that the NI Assembly should ban smoking in cars carrying children.
NICHS launched a campaign to urge the Health Minister to add an additional clause or clauses to the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill (NI) to facilitate a ban.
We were delighted when the Minister agreed to amend the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill and this legislation was subsequently passed by the Assembly.
E – cigarettes
We recognise that some smokers may choose to use e–cigarettes to help them cut down and/or quit.
E–cigarettes are certainly safer than using normal cigarettes. Are they 100% safe? We don’t know, which is why we need further research into their long–term effects. In the meantime if you are planning to quit smoking, especially if you have a lung condition such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, we recommend that you use the currently approved smoking cessation programmes, products and medicines. You may choose to use e–cigarettes too – that is your choice.
NICHS supported the NI Executive’s plan to ban on the sale of e–cigarettes to under 18 year olds but we currently do not support a ban on the use of e–cigarettes in buildings and places where a ban on smoking is in operation
Smoking Cessation Services
We believe that smokers should be offered a comprehensive range of services to help them quit.
We believe illegal cigarettes are undermining efforts both to persuade people to quit and the efforts to prevent people taking up smoking in the first place. We urge NI Executive and HMRC to increase the resources devoted to combating this issue.
Tobacco Tax Escalator
We strongly support the ‘escalator’ by which tobacco tax and increased every year ahead of inflation. There is strong evidence that this cuts the number of people smoking.
Tobacco Retailers Act (Northern Ireland) 2014
We supported this Act which creates a register of all tobacco retailers and introduces new sanctions for those found guilty of selling to children. We worked closely with the Assembly in support of amendments to strengthen the Act. The Act includes changes such as making “proxy buying” (buying cigarettes on behalf of a person under 18 years old) an offence.