The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

Ireland prepares for plain packs

On 28 May the Irish Minister for Health announced that the Government’s Cabinet had approved the drafting of legislation for generic packaging.

The Minister for Health said he wants legislation drafted and prepared later this year, which he hopes will be enacted early in 2014.

Ireland would be the second country in the world, after Australia, to require tobacco to be sold in plain packages - free of manufacturers’ logos, colours and other brand imagery, and dominated by graphic health warnings. New Zealand has also announced it will follow Australia’s lead.


The Irish Cancer Society, a member of the Framework Convention Alliance, praised the move. “In Ireland, children start smoking at a younger age than in any other European country because the tobacco industry has been so successful in marketing cigarettes here,” said Kathleen O’Meara, Head of Advocacy and Communications at the Irish Cancer Society.

In 2012 the tobacco industry lost a challenge to plain packaging in Australia’s courts. A number of countries, supported by the industry, are also calling on the World Trade Organization to outlaw the move, saying it violates international property rights.

“We know from the Australian experience that the tobacco industry will fight this legislation at every stage. But the reality is that the industry will be beaten and the Irish people will be better protected from a product that kills one in two smokers. We hope that the Minister will start drafting the legislation immediately and we stand beside him every step of the way from now until the legislation comes into force,” O'Meara added.

Irish Health Minister James Reilly told media: “The introduction of standardised packaging will remove the final way for tobacco companies to promote their deadly product in Ireland.”

See also:

 Australia defeats Big Tobacco's challenge

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