New laws introduced by the Assembly have helped save lives, Northern Ireland's Health Minister has claimed.
In an address to the healthcare workers of the future, Edwin Poots said legislation had already changed society's attitude towards certain behaviours, like smoking and sunbed use.
Mr Poots said: "With devolution the Assembly has the opportunity to legislate on those issues which we know are having a detrimental effect on the health of people living in Northern Ireland.
"I am determined to make sure that we take full advantage of this opportunity for the benefit of everyone."
The minister took part in a question and answer session with students at the South Eastern Regional College in Downpatrick.
He discussed the structure of health and social care services, along with the role of the Health Minister and the Assembly in forming health legislation.
The minister also tackled questions on various topics including the misuse of alcohol and drugs.
Mr Poots added: "My hope is that today's students will feel inspired to go on to become part of tomorrow's caring workforce.
"The HSC sector is a major employer in Northern Ireland, and a career in caring is a rewarding one for individuals as well as making a vital contribution to services which we will all need at some time in our lives."