Tobacco Free Ireland Programme

Government Strategy on Tobacco Control

The current levels of smoking in Ireland require a more concerted effort to support the continued development of a tobacco-free society where people can live longer and healthier lives free from the detrimental effects of tobacco. 

The Tobacco-Free Ireland (TFI) Policy document was developed by the Department of Health in 2013. This government strategy (2013 - 2025) has a number of cross-governmental actions which are based on the six national standards derived from the WHO report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2008. This report outlines the MPOWER package i.e. six of the most important, effective and evidenced-based tobacco policies which are listed below.

  • Monitoring of tobacco use and prevention policies
  • Protecting people from second-hand smoke
  • Offering help to people who want to quit
  • Warning of the dangers of tobacco
  • Enforcing bans on advertising, promotion and sponsorship
  • Raising taxes on tobacco

The direction given in this policy report seeks to de-normalise tobacco within Irish society, reduce initiation rates, assist smokers to quit, protect non-smokers, especially children, from the effects of second-hand smoke, by building a stable policy and legislative framework.

Background - Tobacco Free Ireland Programme

HSE Health and Wellbeing (under the remit of HSE Strategy and Research) is prioritising its efforts to achieve meaningful and measurable results across key Government Policies and Strategies aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of the population. Healthy Ireland is our overarching Government Policy which presents a roadmap for achieving improved health and wellbeing for all in society. Healthy Ireland's actions and governance mechanisms are reflected in strategies including National Positive Ageing, Tobacco Free Ireland and Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures among others.

The HSE is committed under Action 4.5 of the Health Service Reform in Healthy Ireland to "establish multi-disciplinary national teams to lead and take responsibility for policy priority areas". The Tobacco-Free Ireland Programme was one of the first priority area programmes to be set up. The main aim of the programme is to take responsibility for and systematically drive policy priorities in the area of tobacco control. Ms Martina Blake, National Tobacco Free Ireland Lead has overall responsibility for the Tobacco Free Ireland Programme.

Programme Governance

Good governance underpins the National Programmes in line with Healthy Ireland's vision. A systematic approach guided by the Healthy Ireland operating principles informs the work of the National Programmes:

  • Better governance and leadership
  • Better use of people and resources
  • Better partnerships
  • Better systems for healthcare
  • Better use of evidence
  • Better measurement and evaluation
  • Better programme management

National Tobacco Free Ireland Programme Group (TFIPG)

A Tobacco-Free Ireland Implementation group has been set up with clear terms of reference that provides strategic direction for the work of the programme. The TFIPG monitors progress and facilitates effective co-operation between service areas within the organisation. Membership of the implementation group includes senior management from each HSE service area, the Hospital Groups and Community Healthcare Organisations who have responsibility for the delivery of agreed actions that are articulated in the National Service Plan and Operational Plans. The TFIPG is chaired by Ms Martina Blake, Tobacco Free Ireland Programme Lead.

The National Tobacco Free Ireland Programme Team in conjunction with the TFIPG has developed and published a new National Implementation Plan for the HSE in terms of the health service tobacco control actions. The Programme team and implementation group will drive, coordinate and support the delivery of the National Implementation Plan. This team is managed by the Programme Lead.

Contact the Tobacco Free Ireland Programme Team