Tobacco Free Ireland 2025: SimSmoke prediction for the end game
Publication Source

Tobacco Prevention & Cessation

Journal article
Economy status
High-income economies

This study estimates the impact of tobacco control policies implemented between 1998 and 2016 on smoking prevalence reduction in Ireland by 2016. It then assesses the potential of further strong policies, relative to a scenario of inaction, to see if Tobacco Free Ireland 2025 is feasible.

SimSmoke, the dynamic simulation model of tobacco control policy, was adapted to examine the impact of Irish tobacco control policies on smoking prevalence, through initiation and cessation, and smoking-attributable deaths and to make predictions for the future.

Between 1998 and 2016, the model prediction of smoking prevalence is reasonably close to those from several surveys. As a result of policies implemented in this period, the smoking rate was reduced by 42% from 32.2% in 1998 to 18.7% in 2016. If tobacco control policies remain unchanged from their 2016 levels, smoking prevalence is projected to be 15.8% in 2025. With the introduction of stricter MPOWER-compliant policies in 2017, the smoking prevalence could be reduced to 12.4% in 2025.

Predictions from the SimSmoke Ireland model confirm that the policies implemented between 1998 and 2016 have had a considerable effect. In addition, implementing policies fully compliant with MPOWER could further reduce the smoking prevalence afterwards. However, even under the stricter MPOWER-compliant policies, there is still a gap between the predicted rate in 2025 and the Tobacco Free Ireland target of 5%. Therefore, new policies going beyond MPOWER are needed.