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News / April 16, 2009

Smoking habit bites back

by Guy Hiscott

Research presented at the RCSI Research Day and carried out as part of SLÁN 2007 – the national survey of lifestyle attitudes and nutrition – has found that smoking rates remain high in Ireland.

The survey found that 27% of Irish people currently smoke, with the highest incidence of smoking being reported in the unemployed, at 49%. Among workers, the prevalence of smoking was highest among craft and trade workers, with 39% of male and 45% of female workers smoking. The lowest levels of smoking were reported by professional workers, with 20% of men and 18% of women indulging in cigarettes.

Commenting on the research, Professor Hannah McGee said: ‘Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the western world. Being able to identify and target  specific occupational groups with the highest incidence of smoking enables smoking prevention and cessation programmes to be tailored to specific work-related settings.’

Close to 7,000 people die from tobacco use in Ireland each year, with just one of the risks of smoking being mouth cancer. Every year approximately 300 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed and about half of those result in death.