An overview of progress on reducing second-hand smoke exposure in Northern Ireland and policy options for the future
child in car seat

This report assessed the progress made in reducing second-hand smoke exposure under the Department of Health 10 Year Tobacco Control Strategy for Northern Ireland (2012-2022). 

The findings of the report supported the Department’s End of Term Review of the Tobacco Strategy and will inform priorities in any successor strategy. 

IPH engaged experts Professor Sean Semple and Dr Rachel O’Donnell from the Institute for Social Marketing and Health at the University of Stirling to conduct a secondary analysis of data and report on progress.  

The report found significant progress . 

It found that:

  • between 2012 and 2019 around 114,000 homes moved from permitting smoking to being smoke-free  
  • 6 out of every 7 homes are now smoke-free 
  • the public was increasingly aware of the harmful nature on second-hand smoke, especially for children 
  • there was considerable support for regulations which prohibited smoking in places where children are present, including cars carrying children.  

However, the report also raised concerns that:

  • families living in socially disadvantaged homes were experiencing more exposure than more advantaged homes and this gap has widened over time 
  • there was a lack of up to date estimates on second-hand smoke exposure for pregnant women.  

The report makes a number of recommendations including target setting and protecting home health care workers from second-hand smoke when visiting patients homes, as well as further investment in smoking cessation, research and public awareness campaigns.  

 

Other IPH work on second hand smoke 

Smoke-free spaces: Progress in reducing exposure to second hand smoke in Northern Ireland incorporating the five year review of smoke-free legislation (2016) 

 

Useful contacts and resources 

For advice and support on stopping smoking in Northern Ireland - https://www.stopsmokingni.info/ 

Resources relating to the 2022 Northern Ireland law on smoking in cars when children are present - https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/directorates/operations/communications-and-knowledge-management/communications/smoking-private and https://www.cieh.org/media/6502/smoke-free-private-vehicles-regulations-ni-2021.pdf 

For further information on the health risks associated with second-hand smoke and how to protect your friends, work colleagues and family - https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/quit-smoking/passive-smoking-protect-your-family-and-friends/#:~:text=The%20only%20way%20to%20protect,indoors%20or%20in%20the%20car

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