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Smoking rate soars up to one third despite ban

A THIRD of the Irish population now smokes, a new survey reveals.

A survey of 4,082 people this summer revealed that 33pc of the Irish population had taken up or continued to smoke.

It is the highest smoking rate recorded here in the past 11 years, according to the EU's 'HELP -- For A Life Without Tobacco' campaign.

Despite hikes in tobacco tax, the smoking ban and a new law against the public display of cigarettes for sale, the number of smokers has steadily risen since 2007 when 29pc of the population smoked.

The survey, which was conducted between March and September, revealed the largest group of smokers -- 45pc -- is aged between 16 and 30.

Men form the majority of smokers at 38pc, compared with women at 28pc.

Prof Luke Clancy, a respiratory consultant and director general of the Research Institute for a Tobacco Free Society last night described the statistics as very disappointing.

"There is no evidence of any decline in smoking in this survey, indicating a clear need for higher prices of cigarettes and better treatment of tobacco-dependence," he said.

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