Minister Reilly oversteps his mark on tobacco plain packs, say Ireland’s newsagents
NFRN believes government should wait and see the effects of plain tobacco packaging in Britain before introducing the measure here
23 January 2015 | 0
NFRN Ireland believes that Minister for Children & Youth Affairs James Reilly has overstepped his mark by announcing that Irish legislation for plain packaging will be at the Dáil Health Committee “in the next weeks.”
Ireland’s plans for plain packaging are already bogged down in the European Commission, as nine countries have objected to the Irish proposals. The Minister for Health Leo Varadkar, who is responsible for the plain packaging legislation, confirmed this week in the Dáil that his Department has still not responded to the European Commission more than a month after the deadline for doing so expired.
NFRN Ireland said Minister Reilly appeared to be attempting to use the news that the UK will vote on plain packaging in March to generate publicity for himself and bounce Minister Varadkar into a decision on plain packaging for Ireland before the European Commission process has come to a close.
Ireland’s independent newsagents are, therefore, calling on the Department of Health to postpone its plain packaging bill and to take the sensible option of waiting to see what happens when the British government introduces plain packaging in England and Wales as was promised at Westminster yesterday by UK Public Health Minister Jane Ellison.
NFRN Ireland’s Deirdre Drennan said: “The British decision is a golden opportunity to gather hard evidence in a market that is similar to our own. The Irish government should take this opportunity and let the British go first.
She added: “While independent newsagents have always been – and will always be – supportive of any moves to stop young people smoking or deciding to take it up, putting tobacco in standardised packaging is not the right way to go about this.” Drennan highlighted how evidence from Australia shows that since plain packaging was introduced two years ago smoking rates are unchanged and illicit trade has soared.
A survey conducted by Amárach Research in late November 2014 found that 62% of people in Ireland support NFRN Ireland’s call for postponement of plain packaging.”