Work in Progress - Tackling the health impacts of smoking and vaping

Work in progress

We are currently undertaking work in order to produce this publication. Details of when we aim to publish the finalised report are indicated below.

Smoking is the principal cause behind around 2,200 local fatalities and significantly contributes to many chronic illnesses, placing both significant operational and cost pressures on the local HSC sector. It also  brings wider economic and societal impacts. As smoking prevalence is highest amongst those living in the most deprived areas, this section of the population is disproportionately affected. 

The rapid emergence of vaping has also presented new challenges. Whilst there remains a lack of information on the longer-term health implications associated with it, research has tended to support the benefits of adults vaping to help them quit smoking. However, all the UK public health agencies agree that children should not vape.

Despite progress in reducing the NI smoking prevalence over the last decade, challenges remain amongst particular groups with high ongoing smoking rates, and a concerted focus is still required to try and further address both this, and the emerging issues around rising vaping rates. This forthcoming report will assess: 

  • trends in smoking prevalence in NI over the last decade, including comparison with the rest of the UK and the RoI, and assessment of key high prevalence groups; 

  • the main strategies introduced locally by the Department of Health and the Public Health Agency (PHA) to try and reduce smoking levels, and performance against smoking prevalence reduction targets in NI; 

  • the current information base on local adult and child vaping levels, and what measures might be necessary to address any concerns identified; and

  • the performance and effectiveness of key tobacco control meaasures, including the local PHA-funded specialist smoking cessation services which aim to support current smokers to quit, information campaigns and enforcement of tobacco and vaping control legislation.

It is anticipated that this report will publish in early 2024.