Tobacco and public health

 

Sir, – While the budget increase of 50 cent per packet of 20 cigarettes is to be welcomed, there is another more effective measure that could be taken to protect the lives and health of young people in Ireland. A report by the US Institute of Medicine in March 2015 concluded that raising the legal age at which one could purchase tobacco to 21 years would have a substantial positive impact on public health and save lives. Five US states – Hawaii, California, New Jersey, Oregon and Maine – have now passed legislation to raise the age to 21, as have 270 localities in the US.

Others are planning to follow suit.

Ireland was to the forefront in introducing the workplace ban on smoking, but unfortunately we seem to have dragged our heels on this issue in recent years.

Perhaps the time has come to raise the legal age at which one can purchase tobacco to 21 years and save lives into the bargain. – Yours, etc,

ROBERT CARTY

Templeogue, Dublin 6W.