Cancer charity unveils ambitious vision for a smokefree Northern Ireland by 2035

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH NI), a subcommittee of Cancer Focus NI, has today launched their manifesto and vision for a smokefree Northern Ireland by 2035.

The ambitious manifesto advocates for a new comprehensive Tobacco Control Strategy, including smoking prevention programmes available to children and young people, more accessible Stop Smoking Services, as well as increasing the age of tobacco sales to 21 years.

(L-R) Paula Bradshaw MLA, Chair, APG on Cancer, Dr Bernadette Cullen, Chair, ASH NI, Richard Spratt, Chief Executive, Cancer Focus NI, and Naomi Thompson, Health Improvement Manager, Cancer Focus Northern Ireland.

Tobacco stands as the foremost contributor to preventable illnesses and untimely deaths and is inextricably linked with a number of Non-Communicable Diseases including heart disease, cancer, and lung disease. Around 2,300 people die from a smoking-related illness in Northern Ireland each year, with an additional annual 18,000 hospital admissions attributed to smoking.

With its partners, ASH NI campaigns to achieve effective and comprehensive tobacco control policies and programmes, with the primary aim of seeing Northern Ireland become a society where less than 5% of the adult population is actively smoking.

The full manifesto ‘A Vision for a Smokefree Northern Ireland’ can be viewed here.

Speaking at launch of ASH NI’s Vision for a Smokefree Northern Ireland 2035, Richard Spratt, Chief Executive, Cancer Focus, said:

“We are proud to unveil this ambitious plan for a smokefree Northern Ireland today. Our mission at Cancer Focus through ASH is to see Northern Ireland transformed into a smokefree society where people can enjoy healthier, smokefree lives. We know the devastating impact of a disease like cancer on individuals and their loved ones, so we are committed to advocating for better policies that can help eliminate all smoking related conditions. Setting 2035 as a target will no doubt be challenging, but it will help drive a focused and ambitious aim to see Northern Ireland not just become smokefree, but a healthier and happier place to live”.

Paula Bradshaw MLA, added:

“I am pleased to see this manifesto launched today; it sets out clear priorities for the Department of Health and an Executive. It also represents an opportunity for Northern Ireland to take the lead on preventative health policy and implement policies that are both progressive and achievable with the right political will. For too long, Northern Ireland has been playing catch-up with other jurisdictions, so now is the time for our political parties to come together for the benefit of the people here and deliver some real change by putting these objectives into action”.


References to statistics can be viewed here.