Cabinet signs off on plain packaging plan
11 June 2014
The Cabinet has signed off on draft laws that will ban branded cigarette packs in Ireland.
Minister for Health James Reilly is now set to present the Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Bill 2014 to the Seanad.
If the bill’s measures are enacted, Ireland will become the first EU country to remove all forms of branding, except for the brand and variant name which will be presented in a uniform typeface.
However JTI Ireland responded by calling on the Minister for Health to urgently publish the findings of the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) on plain packaging of tobacco products.
Furthermore, the Australian plain packaging legislation is currently the subject of challenges at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), a final ruling on which is expected in Q1 of 2015. Freda said this "should be analysed by government before making any decisions to proceed".
As the move would deprive the company of its intellectual property, JTI Ireland added it is "currently considering all options regarding a future legal challenge if plain packaging legislation is enacted". In a press statement, John Player also said the State may be required to compensate tobacco companies and that it would "robustly defend" its right to use trademarks.
The National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) Ireland has likewise criticised Minister Reilly for the move, stating: "Hard evidence is being ignored whilst retailers struggle due to the growth of the illicit trade."