Challenges remain in terms of exposure to second-hand smoke in the home particularly for some children and subsequent impact on health inequalities
A new snapshot report – an update on a report published in 2016 – highlights that less than one-in-five adults in the Republic of Ireland are exposed to second-hand smoke daily. Challenges remain in terms of significant exposure to second-hand smoke in the home particularly for some children and subsequent impact on health inequalities.
This data is contained in an Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) snapshot report, Smoke-Free Spaces on the Island of Ireland (http://www.publichealth.ie/document/iph-report/smoke-free-spaces-island-ireland-snapshot-report which provides an update on the positive journey being taken towards creating more smoke-free spaces across the island.
Today (Wednesday, 31 May) is World No Tobacco Day and this year’s theme is protect health, reduce poverty and promote development.
IPH Director of Policy Dr Helen McAvoy explained this report presents information from a range of different sources on the progress that is being made – North and South – towards the development of smoke-free workplaces, cars, health services and public spaces.
“Reducing second-hand smoke (SHS) exposure is a central part of tobacco control policies across the island of Ireland. The expansion of smoke-free spaces directly reduces exposure of children and adults and further helps to denormalise tobacco use in a variety of social contexts.
“In this context it’s encouraging to see that the Healthy Ireland Survey 2016 shows that less than one-in-five adults in the Republic – 18% – were exposed to second-hand smoke on a daily basis. Such exposure was highest among those aged 15-24 with nearly three-in-ten (28%) reporting they are exposed to second-hand smoke on a daily basis.
“Research from the 2014 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study cited slightly stricter rules around smoking in the home compared to the family car with pre-teen children more protected than teenagers.”
Dr McAvoy said that research highlighted in the snapshot report shows that there are socio-economic differences in the levels of exposure to second-hand smoke.
“Non-smokers in more deprived areas were more likely to be exposed to second-hand smoke than those in more affluent areas. Likewise, more than twice as many nine-year olds living in the lowest income families (32.7%) were exposed to second-hand smoke in the home compared to children in the highest income families (14%).”
Dr McAvoy said that while updated data shows considerable progress is being made in reducing children’s exposure to smoking, exposures among children in disadvantaged circumstances are deeply concerning.
“People in deprived areas need greater support to help them quit smoking and we also need to address the root causes of such health inequalities,” Dr McAvoy concluded.
Notes to Editors
Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH)
IPH is an all-island body which supports cooperation on public health North and South to promote collective action for sustained improvements in health with a particular focus on addressing health inequalities.
Previous IPH Smoke-Free Publications
IPH has published a number of reports on creating a smoke-free island over recent years:
- Last year, IPH published its first snapshot report on Smoke-Free Spaces on the Island of Ireland with data coming from the Department of Health’s (ROI) Healthy Ireland Survey and the Department of Health (NI) Health Survey Northern Ireland and a wide range of other sources;
- In 2015, the Institute published Smoke-Free Spaces: Progress in reducing exposure to second-hand smoke in Northern Ireland incorporating the five-year review of smoke-free legislation (http://www.publichealth.ie/document/iph-report/smoke-free-spaces-progress-reducing-exposure-second-hand-smoke-northern-ireland);
- In conjunction with the TobaccoFree Research Institute Ireland, IPH published A Tobacco-Free Future – an all-island report on tobacco inequalities and childhood (http://www.publichealth.ie/document/iph-report/tobacco-free-future-all-island-report-tobacco-inequalities-and-childhood-2013).