Plea to ban smoking in playgrounds
An anti-tobacco group has called for a nationwide smoking ban in children's playgrounds from Ash Wednesday.
Ash Ireland has asked all county and city councils to make public play areas smoke-free in a bid to tackle the dangers of passive smoking.
The group's Dr Brian Maurer said the response from local authorities to enforce the ban has been very positive.
"It is well established that passive smoke is extremely harmful to children and it is not too much to expect that their play areas are kept smoke-free," said Dr Maurer.
"When play areas are used for smoking it is inevitable that large quantities of tobacco waste builds up within the facilities and this in itself is unhealthy and unsightly."
Dr Maurer added that the health initiative could be introduced without changes to legislation.
"The council can merely erect a sign asking people not to smoke and we believe that more people will comply with this, and non-smoking playgrounds will become the norm," he went on.
Another Ash Ireland campaign aims to have all cars carrying children under 16 smoke-free. The group is also lobbying the GAA, Football Association of Ireland and the Irish Rugby Football Union to impose a smoking ban in their sporting venues.
Meanwhile, the Irish Cancer Society has launched a new advertising campaign aimed at helping young women kick the habit by encouraging them to set a quit date.
The I'll Quit When I'm 30 campaign follows the release of figures from the National Cancer Registry, which revealed that lung cancer deaths among women now outnumber breast cancer deaths.