Plain packaging of tobacco legislation is passed

Minister for Children James Reilly has said that the legislation will protect children from the harmful effects of tobacco
Minister for Children James Reilly has said that the plain packaging legislation will protect children from the harmful effects of tobacco

The new legislation requires the removal of all industry marketing from tobacco packaging

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4 March 2015 | 0

Ireland has become the first European country to pass plain packaging laws for tobacco.

The legislation aims to ban all forms of branding such as trademarks and logos on packs of cigarettes, tobacco and cigars and introduce 65% health warnings on the packs from May 2016.

Minister for Children James Reilly has said that the legislation will make Ireland leaders in the EU for legislating against tobacco advertising, as we did with the smoking ban a decade ago.

He also says it will protect children from the harmful effects of tobacco and deter them from taking up smoking at all.

The Irish Tobacco Manufacturing Advisory Committee (ITMAC) has said that this legislation will infringe on fundamental legal rights to property, freedom of expression and trade that are protected under Irish, EU and international law.

JTI, the owner of the Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut brands told ShelfLife last week that it would not hesitate in launching legal proceedings to protect its rights if the government continued with the legislation.

Igor Dzaja, general manager, JTI Ireland said: “We have informed the government that we stand ready to file legal proceedings should it continue pushing for a ‘cut and paste’ policy that has failed in Australia. ’Plain’ packaging puts politics before evidence.”

Minister Reilly said the government was prepared for a legal challenge on the matter.

He said:  “The Attorney General has her team together and we fully expect, once the legislation is enacted and commenced, that they will probably file a lawsuit. They will do it more in the hope than certainty. They do it more to intimidate us and to intimidate other countries who are prepared to follow suit.”

According to Minister Reilly 5,300 Irish people died each year from smoking-related diseases.

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