About IMJ
Contact IMJ
Register as Reviewer
Register As Author
View IMJ Authors
View IMJ Volumes
View Supplement
Issue Archive 1980-1996
Subscription Detail 2010

IMJ Search


Advanced Search
Smoking Among Young People in the MWHB Region in 1997 and 2002   Back Bookmark and Share

Ir Med J. 2005 March; 98 (3): 94         


It was encouraging to read the recent paper by Flanagan et al.1 detailing a decline in the prevalence regular smoking among young people in the North-Eastern Region between 1997 and 2002. This research identified the prevalence of regular smoking (defined as smoking at least one cigarette per day) in 1997 at 30.7%. By 2002 this figure had declined to 18.2%.

Flanagan et al. 1 are far from complacent on the issue of smoking, highlighting several key issues, including continuing higher smoking rates among adolescent females, and an increase in the number of cigarettes being consumed by smokers between 1997 and 2002. However one concern is that the decline in current smoking prevalence observed in the North-Eastern Region may be assumed by readers to be representative of Ireland generally. Such an erroneous assumption might lead to smoking prevention and cessation work among Irish adolescents not receiving the full support, energy and resources it requires.

Although the definitions involved are slightly different, research examining smoking among almost 4,000 adolescents in the Mid-West Region in 1997 identified that 28.6% of respondents were current smokers.2 In 2002 a second similar survey involving over 2,000 adolescents in the region noted a current smoking prevalence of 30.0%.3

Adolescent smoking in Ireland remains problematic. Although current smoking rates may be decreasing in some areas, they continue to increase in others. Further resources are needed to tackle this issue, and perhaps to explore the nature and causes of spatial differences in smoking prevalence.

F Houghton, H Cowley & K Kelleher
Department of Public Health,
MWHB, Limerick.


  1. Flanagan E, Bedford, D, O’Farrell A, Browne C, Howell F. Smoking, Alcohol & Illicit Drug Use among Young People in a Health Board Region in 1997 and 2002: A Comparative Study. Ir Med J 2004; 97: 230-232.
  2. Gleeson M, Kelleher K, Houghton F, Feeney A, Dempsey H. Teenage smoking, drug and alcohol use in the Midwest. Department of Public Health, MWHB, 1998.
  3. Kelleher K, Cowley H, Houghton F. Teenage smoking, alcohol and drug use in the Mid-Western Health Board Region 2002. Department of Public Health, MWHB, 2003.
© Copyright 2004 - 2009 Irish Medical Journal