Objectives: This study estimates the relative contribution of policies implemented between 1998 and 2010 to reductions in smoking prevalence by 2010. It then models the impact of implementing stronger policies, relative to a scenario of inaction, on smoking prevalence and smoking-attributable mortality in Ireland.
Methods: IrelandSS is an adapted version of SimSmoke, a dynamic simulation model used to examine the effect of tobacco control policies on smoking prevalence, through initiation and cessation, and associated future premature mortality.
Results: Model predictions for smoking prevalence are reasonably close to those from surveys. As a result of tobacco control policies implemented between 1998 and 2010, there was a 22% relative reduction in smoking prevalence and 1716 fewer smoking-attributable deaths (SADs) by 2010 increasing to a 29% relative reduction in prevalence and 50 215 fewer SADs by 2040. With the introduction of stricter FCTC-compliant policies in 2011, the smoking prevalence can be decreased by as much as 13% initially, increasing to 28% by 30 years. With these stronger policies, a total of 24 768 SADs will be averted by 2040.
Conclusions: Predictions from the IrelandSS model suggest that policies implemented between 1998 and 2010 have had considerable effect; however, appreciable reductions in smoking prevalence and SADs can still be achieved through increasing taxes, maintaining a high-intensity tobacco control media campaign, introducing graphic health warnings and improving smoking cessation services.
Keywords: Ireland; Tobacco control policy; cessation; economics; exposure assessment; global health; harm reduction; prevalence; price; priority/special populations; public policy; respiratory health; simulation model; smoking caused disease; smoking prevalence; smoking-attributable deaths; surveillance and monitoring; taxation and price.