Updated: 28/12/16 : 07:32:31
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Smokers urged to kick the habit as 6,000 died this year

Almost 6,000 people in Ireland will have died from the effects of smoking by the end of the year, according to Action on Smoking Health (ASH) Ireland.

The organisation, which campaigns to reduce the impact of tobacco use, is calling for smokers to consider giving up the habit as their New Year's resolution.

Despite the falling number of smokers in recent years, around 5,900 lives will have been lost through the effects of smoking in Ireland in 2016.

ASH Ireland Chairman Patrick Doorley said that someone with a 20-a-day smoking habit will spend around €4,000 on cigarettes in a year, and that smoking in Irish society costs the State €1.6bn annually - with €506m spent on direct healthcare costs.

The organisation has called for the Government to push ahead with the legislative process to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes in the New Year as an additional measure to reduce smoking in all age categories.

The World Health Organization has confirmed that close to six million people will die worldwide because of smoking this year, with 600,000 of those losing their lives due to the effects of passive smoke.