Towards a Tobacco Free Ireland—scaling up and strengthening quit smoking behaviour at population level

  • Naomi Petty-SaphonEmail author
  • Paul Kavanagh
Original Article



Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in Ireland; half of all long-term smokers die prematurely from smoking-related diseases. Achieving ‘Tobacco Free Ireland’ (a smoking prevalence of less than 5%) will require the prevention of smoking initiation and the promotion of smoking cessation.


A secondary analysis of Healthy Ireland 2015 was undertaken to identify determinants of smoking cessation attempts and the use of smoking cessation aids in the general adult population in Ireland.


The majority of quit attempts were made unassisted. A number of factors including motivation to quit, tobacco dependency, deprivation, age, and chronic disease were found to be associated with making a quit attempt and with the use of help in a quit attempt; however, the effect of these determinants was not all the same. The odds of making a quit attempt decreased (adjusted OR 0.97, 95% CI 0.96 to 0.99) for every increase in cigarette smoked per day, but when a quit attempt was made, the odds of using help increased (adjusted OR 1.04, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.06). Older smokers were less likely to have made a quit attempt than younger smokers (OR 0.66, 95% CI 0.45 to 0.98) but were nearly twice as likely to have used help in a quit attempt (OR 1.93, 95% CI 1.06 to 3.54).


This study highlights the need to strengthen smoking cessation in Ireland to increase the number of smokers that successfully quit and achieve a Tobacco Free Ireland. The development and implementation of National Clinical Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Tobacco Addiction will play a key role in this.


Population health Smoking cessation Smoking cessation guidelines Tobacco Free Ireland 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interests

The authors declare they have no conflict of interests.


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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CSTAR, Woodview House, University College DublinDublin 4Ireland
  2. 2.Health Intelligence UnitDublinIreland

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