ASI Welcomes Minister for Health’s Commitment to Tobacco-Free Ireland by 2025 The Asthma Society of Ireland has welcomed the Minister for Health and Children James Reilly TD’s commitment to a tobacco free Ireland by 2025. Ireland has the fourth highest prevalence of asthma worldwide and 470,000 people in Ireland suffer with the condition, meaning everyone in Ireland knows someone who has asthma. Put another way, asthma affects one in ten Irish adults and one in five children under fourteen. The restrictions will include an extension of the workplace smoking ban to include public places such as parks, playgrounds and beaches. Earlier this year, the Government announced its intention to introduce plain packaging for all tobacco, making Ireland the second country in the world to introduce the measure (after Australia). Sharon Cosgrove, CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland said: “We wholeheartedly welcome the Minister’s announcement today and we support his efforts to free Ireland from tobacco. At a meeting with the Minister today we expressed our full support for his plans on behalf of all asthma sufferers in this country. People in Ireland have as much right to breathe clean air as they do to drink clean water and eat safe food. Pollutants caused by smoking are damaging for everyone’s health, but especially for people with respiratory conditions like asthma. Breathing in smoky air worsens asthma symptoms, increases the risk of having an asthma attack and limits quality of life. This is good news for the 470,000 people in Ireland with asthma, the largest group of chronic disease sufferers in the country.” The Asthma Society is a member of the Tobacco Control Stakeholder Network and has signed up to Stamp Out Smoking 2030 Campaign, which is an international campaign advocating for governments to commit to the banning of all commerce in tobacco by the year 2030. More info here.   Allergy UK joins forces to call for improved NHS allergy services  National charity, Allergy UK is urging millions of allergy sufferers across Britain to get involved in a new initiative to target their local MP as part of a new postcard campaign designed by the National Allergy Strategy Group (NASG) in a bid to get this serious health issue addressed in Parliament. Allergy UK has joined forces with patient information organisations and professional bodies as to promote the new campaign, as a member of the NASG. The group is calling for more specialists in allergy (for adults and children), as well as improving awareness and understanding of allergy in primary care so more patients can be dealt with. About 1 in 3 of the population suffers from allergic disease but most GPs, and hospital doctors have little or no training in allergy. There are only 30 consultants in allergy (specialists) for the whole of the UK and many patients when referred to a hospital allergy service see a doctor trained in another speciality. By sending a postcard, individuals will be directly asking their MP to raise awareness in Parliament for more training and investment in allergy, and to find out what Health Ministers are doing to address the issue. They will also be requesting more information on what local allergy services are available in their constituency and to be updated on their MPs findings. Allergy UK’s CEO, Jim Bennett said: “We want to encourage all allergy sufferers to get involved in this campaign and show they can make a difference. We hope to empower the allergy sufferer by providing the tools they need to directly lobby their MP and urge our supporters to send a campaign postcard to their MP.” You can download a postcard from: or order hard copies by contacting our helpline on 01322 619898 and ask your MP to address allergy services in your constituency.

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The EFA Team