All forms of branding – trademarks, logos, colours and graphics – are to be removed from tobacco packs from the 30th September 2017, according to a statement issued by the Department of Health today (29 March).
The news comes following the signing of the commencement order this morning by Minister for Health, Simon Harris and Minister of State, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, who announced that the legislation for the standardised packaging of tobacco is to come into force in the forthcoming months.
Standardised packaging will also means that the brand and variant names would be presented in a uniform typeface for all brands and the packs would all be in one plain neutral colour.
The aim of standardised packaging is to 'make all tobacco packs look less attractive to consumers, to make health warnings more prominent and to prevent packaging from misleading consumers about the harmful effects of tobacco.'
Minister Corcoran Kennedy who highlighted that research has shown that younger people are more influenced by brands, said: "The tobacco pack is the last advertising medium for the tobacco industry in Ireland and so is a critically important form of promotion. Standardised packaging is the next step in tackling the promotion and advertising of tobacco. There is strong evidence emerging from Australia, that introducing standardised packaging is both effective and proportionate in reducing the toll of tobacco use on the population."
Speaking about how smoking is a significant cause of ill-health in Ireland, Minister Harris placed emphasis on how almost 6,000 people die from tobacco related disease and tobacco use.
He said,"That is 6,000 families who go through the pain of losing a loved one when the stark reality is that these deaths are unnecessary and avoidable. It has been estimated to cost Irish society a total of €10.7 billion annually in healthcare, productivity and other costs. The Government is committed to changing that and standardised packaging of tobacco products is one such evidence-based measure that will assist in achieving our overarching goal of having Ireland tobacco free by 2025″.
Speaking to Checkout.ie, a JTI Ireland spokesperson said, “Manufacturers, distributors and retailers are currently phasing in separate new EU tobacco regulations ahead of a deadline of May 2017, so clarity on plain packaging is essential to allow us to begin preparations to comply with the branding ban in the timeframes set down by the Government.”
There will be a wash-through period allowed, meaning any products manufactured and placed on the market before the September date will be permitted to stay on the market for a 12-month period (i.e. until 30 September, 2018).
© 2017 - Checkout Magazine by Donna Ahern