Dáil debates

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate

Tobacco Control Measures

3:50 pm

Photo of Frank FeighanFrank Feighan (Sligo-Leitrim, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

Some interesting areas have been looked at. I will ask the Minister to investigate the fact that in Finland people are allowed to bring in no more than 200 cigarettes while in this country 800 cigarettes is the maximum. We will consider that. There is also the fact that the manufacturers dictate the retail selling price in the context of the number of cigarettes that can be in a packet. The Deputy is right that €130 million is a substantial sum. We need to consider that.

As the Deputy is aware, the introduction of standardised packaging of tobacco products and the display of both written and pictorial warnings on all tobacco products are central to our efforts to reduce tobacco consumption and meet the objectives of a tobacco-free Ireland and the national tobacco control strategy. The Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Act 2015 sought to decrease the appeal of tobacco and reduce the ability of product packaging to mislead consumers about the harmful effects of smoking. The goal of standardised packaging is also to increase the effectiveness of health warnings on tobacco products.

Irish law had provided for health warnings on the impact of tobacco smoking before the introduction of the tobacco products directive at EU level in 2014. The Irish regulations that give effect to the tobacco products directive could not be more clear on the requirements for the labelling and packaging of tobacco products that are imported for sale in the State. They must display pictorial and textual health warnings and the warnings must be in both Irish and English.

A key aspect of the strategy to reduce tobacco use, particularly uptake among children and young people, is de-normalising tobacco use by reducing the visibility and attractiveness of tobacco products and associated imagery. The advertising and promotional potential of tobacco products has been greatly reduced by legislation governing how they are packaged and presented.


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