The government has approved the heads of the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Bill, which seeks to remove all branding from tobacco products as well as allow for larger health warnings on packets.
The Bill will now go to the Oireachtas Health Committee, headed up by Jerry Buttimer TD, for further analysis.
Commenting on the decision Minister Reilly said: "Cigarette packs have been described as the last billboard for the tobacco industry; this legislation will force the industry to show with greater clarity, the potential devastating effects of smoking on health. As it stands the tobacco companies use packets of various shapes and colours to attract young people to take up the killer habit. Standardised Packaging – all the one type –with much larger warnings will be a deterrent."
Responding to the announcement, Joe Sweeney of NFRN Ireland said that his organisation was 'shocked' that there has been no consultation with the retail sector ahead of the Bill gaining Cabinet approval, citing recent evidence from Australia that shows that the introduction of plain packaging there has led to an increase in the illicit trade in tobacco products.
"In recent months we have sought to discuss this issue with the Department of Health and those responsible for reviewing the measure in other Departments but our requests have either been refused or have simply been ignored," he said. "Is this really how the Government of ‘the best small country in the world in which to do business’ intends to go about its business?"
Sweeney also noted the "sneak attack" by the Department of Health in the most recent Budget, by introducing a tenfold increase in the licensing fee for tobacco retailers, adding "More than a month later the Department of Health, or any other arm of the Government for that matter, have yet to clarify whether their intention is that this will be an annual fee or if it will remain simply a one off charge. This is simply unacceptable."
© 2013 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones