Celtic Tiger blamed for rise in smoking in Ireland
DUBLIN (Reuters) - The flourishing ``Celtic Tiger'' economy is blamed for a rise in the number of Irish smokers in a survey on Monday which revealed that a third of adults in Ireland now smoke.
Irish women now make up 55% of all smokers, the first time they have overtaken men in the smoking statistics, the survey said.
Doctors said Ireland's unprecedented economic boom had contributed to the rise in the numbers smoking, up to 33 percent of the population from 27 percent six years ago.
``Greater affluence means people can buy more cigarettes,'' said Luke Clancy, consultant respiratory physician at Dublin's St. James Hospital.
``The booming economy brings with it the frustration of greater work pressures and the significant stress on women in terms of the shortage of good childcare facilities and trying to balance family and working life,'' he added.
Longer commuting times into Dublin were also blamed as gridlocked motorists turn to tobacco to ease their frustration.
The Irish government raised taxes on cigarettes in its budget last December but this has failed to have any impact on the number of smokers. A packet of 20 cigarettes now costs about four Irish pounds.
The survey also found that almost two-thirds of Irish people who smoke could be defined as heavy smokers, getting through upwards of 15 cigarettes each day.
The survey was based on face-to-face interviews with 1,400 Irish people aged 15 and over. It was conducted on behalf of Nicorette, the company which produces a variety of anti-smoking products including chewing gum and skin patches.