Plain Cigarette Packaging Approved

Ireland is to become the second country in the world to introduce standardised, plain packaging for cigarettes, following government approval.

The move will see all individual branding removed from cigarettes on sale in Ireland, in a bid to discourage the public from taking up the habit.

Standardised packaging of tobacco products will remove all forms of branding, with the brand name presented in a uniform typeface and the packs all in one, plain, neutral colour.

Plain packaging has been mandatory in Australia since 2012.

"It is with great pleasure that I announce, ahead of World No Tobacco Day on Friday, that I have received Government approval to begin the process of introducing standardised/plain packaging of tobacco products in Ireland," said Health Minister James Reilly.

"While many arguments will be made against such an introduction, I am confident that this legislation will be justified and supported purely by the fact that it will save lives," he added.

Over 5,200 people die every year from tobacco related diseases in Ireland, according to the Department of Health.

The Department has also calculated that, in order to replace the smokers who quit, the tobacco industry needs to recruit fifty new smokers in Ireland every day to maintain smoking rates.

78% of smokers in a survey said they started smoking under the age of 18.

"It's clear that the tobacco industry focuses on children to replace those customers who die or quit," a statement said.

"The introduction of standardised packaging will remove the final way for tobacco companies to promote their deadly product in Ireland," the Minister said.

The Department of Health says research shows packaging has been used to reassure consumers over the risks of smoking, for example with the use of the words 'mild' or 'light' on packs in the past.

Imagery and colours are also known to influence consumers.

Minister Reilly concluded: "Plain packaging is one of a number of measures that are required to effectively denormalise smoking in our society. As such this initiative should not be looked at in isolation. Education and awareness, cessation services and extending the smoking ban to other areas are just some of the other measures which I am currently progressing."


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