Wednesday, 26 January 2011
Department of Health and Children
Question 21: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 215, 230 and 233 of 23 March 2010, the steps taken by her as a result of the European Court of Justice judgment issued on 4 March 2010 against Ireland, France and Austria to the effect that the setting in health legislation of the minimum price for which cigarettes can be sold is not in keeping with EU law; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3978/11]
Question 22: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she is now fully compliant with the European Court of Justice judgment issued on 4 March 2010 that the setting in health legislation of the minimum price for which cigarettes can be sold is not keeping with EU law; the steps she has taken to ensure that her Department is fully compliant with the ruling. [3979/11]
Áine Brady (Minister of State with special responsibility for Older People and Health Promotion, Department of Health and Children; Minister of State, Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government; Minister of State, Department of Social and Family Affairs; Kildare North, Fianna Fail)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 21 and 22 together.
Following on from the European Court of Justice's Judgement, my Department last year, ceased the practice of calculating the weighted average price for cigarettes. There was no change required to the legislation as the arrangements to calculate a weighted average price were on the basis of an agreement with the Irish Tobacco Manufacturers Advisory Committee (ITMAC) affiliated tobacco companies, who forwarded data on sales volumes and retail prices to year end each year. From this information, a weighted average price was calculated and industry were advised "if the recommended retail price of any brand of cigarettes is less than 97% of the weighted average price it will be considered as a "sales promotion device".
The Tobacco Products (Control of Advertising, Sponsorship and Sales Promotion) (Amendment) Regulations, 2000 (S.I. No. 35 of 2000) provides a definition for "sales promotion device", and, as such, the framework for the setting of the weighted average price. There are other instances of a sales promotion device that may need to be dealt with in the future e.g. - 3 for 2, buy one get one half price, "happy hour" promotion etc. In the circumstances, an amendment of the regulations is not necessary as it may be necessary to invoke the regulations in relation to potential illegal practices that may arise in the future.