Fine Gael Senator for Cork North Central, Colm Burke, has today (Wednesday) requested that the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016 be given priority by the Dáil and the new Seanad when it is formed.
The EU Court of Justice has now held that extensive standardisation of cigarette packaging is lawful, however there are minor amendments required to the 2015 Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Act to give it effect. Part 5 of the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016 seeks to make these necessary amendments.
Legislation to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes was introduced at an EU level in 2014 via the Tobacco Products Directive, and was subsequently signed into law in Ireland in March of last year. Ireland was the second country to introduce legislation for plain packaging of cigarettes. However, the implementation of this law was delayed due to legal challenges taken by several multi-national tobacco companies.
“The enactment of this legislation is a really progressive move in the fight against smoking as it will remove all forms of branding including trademarks, logo, colours and graphics from cigarette packs. It is important that this law would come into effect as soon as possible.
“Combatting the effects of marketing cigarettes to young people will go a long way towards decreasing the numbers of new smokers each year.
“The real concerns shown by big cigarette companies only highlights that they fear it will work.”
Tobacco is responsible for the death of over 700,000 people each year within the European Union. More than 600,000 of those who die within the EU are the result of direct tobacco use. Moreover, 79,000 of these are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. We need to take urgent action now to stop this trend.
The introduction of standardised tobacco packaging is just one of many measures that we need to take to work towards making Ireland tobacco free by 2025 as outlined in the Programme for Government.
The Tobacco Products Directive will take effect as soon as the necessary amendments are made by the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016 , and a period of one year will be allowed for stockists and wholesalers to get rid of remaining marked tobacco products.