“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. 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,” said Ireland's health minister, James Reilly.
In a statement the minister said that the tobacco industry has to recruit 50 new smokers a day, just to keep smoking rates at the current level.
“The introduction of standardised packaging will remove the final way for tobacco companies to promote their deadly product in Ireland,” added the 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.”
Plain packaging, a key part of the controversial Tobacco Products Directive, currently working its way through the European commission has plain packaging as a main theme.
Australia was the first country to introduce such restrictions, in December 2012 and now Ireland is joining them.
Reilly said that he hoped to have the measures in place during 2014.