December 21, 2016

Irish Cancer Society Welcomes Sale of Tobacco Stock by Irish State

The Irish Cancer Society warmly welcomes the sale by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) of its remaining investments in tobacco manufacturing.

Tobacco costs the state over €1.5billion a year in healthcare costs, lost productivity and environmental damage and it causes almost 6,000 deaths a year in Ireland. 81,430 days in hospital beds are given over to cancers caused by smoking each year, while 6,350 inpatient admissions were patients with cancers caused by smoking.

That the State continued to hold shares in tobacco companies, which take in extraordinary profits, while 1 in every 2 smokers in Ireland die of a tobacco related disease, was unethical, and unacceptable.

The Irish Cancer Society has long campaigned for the divestment of tobacco shares by the Irish State and is pleased that we have now followed in the footsteps of countries like Australia, Norway and some US states.

The Society now hopes that others, including private organisations, individuals, and private pension funds, grasp the opportunity to take a stand against the tobacco industry by divesting themselves of any tobacco stock.

In Australia, over 35 superannuation funds have adopted tobacco free mandates resulting in divestment of over Aus$1.3bn.

The Irish Cancer Society would also like to commend the cross-Party efforts of Ministers Simon Harris and Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy, and Senator Keith Swanwick on their interventions on this matter.