Westmeath has most smokers - survey

Westmeath has more smokers than any other county in Ireland, according to new research published by health insurer Hibernian Aviva.

The results of an online survey published this week revealed that 31 per cent of respondents from the Lake County admitted to being smokers. In contrast, the health check survey revealed that, at just 16 per cent, Monaghan had the least number of smokers. x

As many smokers attempt to kick the habit in the coming weeks, the research revealed that Irish smokers smoke an average of 13 cigarettes per day, costing the smoker approximately €163.80 each month or €2,000 per year.

A higher proportion of females (24 per cent ) than males (22 per cent ) smoke, with the National Cancer Registry warning that the risk of developing lung cancer for men will increase by 59 per cent and by 136 per cent for women by 2020. Some 7,500 people die from the effects of tobacco each year in Ireland, while lung cancer currently accounts for 20 per cent of all deaths from cancer.

Commenting on the results of the online health check, Dr Stephen Murphy of the Aviva Health Insurance Medical Council said: “The research reveals a real need to cut out smoking in Ireland. I urge all smokers to seriously consider quitting this life-threatening habit and to consequently live a healthier life. The risk of lung cancer for a smoker is significant: at least four out of five cases are associated with cigarette smoking. By quitting this habit the risk of lung cancer falls to the same level as a non-smoker after 15 years so it is so important for smokers to cut the habit at the earliest opportunity.”

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