Tobacco consumption is the largest avoidable health threat in Ireland and one in two smokers will die from a tobacco related disease. The policy document "Tobacco Free Ireland" sets out over 60 recommendations, with the overall aims of de-normalising smoking in our society, protecting children from the harms of tobacco, enforcing, regulating and legislating for tobacco activities and products, educating about the dangers of tobacco and assisting those who smoke to stop.
One of the key recommendations in "Tobacco Free Ireland' is to make nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) more widely available, including in outlets where tobacco products are sold.
NRT is currently available, on prescription, to eligible medical cardholders on the General Medical Services (GMS) Scheme. Alternatively, NRT products are also available as over the counter items in pharmacies, without the need for a prescription.
In 2014, the Health Products Regulatory Authority announced that it had licensed some NRT items for sale in non-pharmacy outlets.
In addition, two non-nicotine prescription medicines are authorised in Ireland to assist in smoking cessation, and these are available to eligible persons on the GMS and Drug Payment Scheme.