Written answers

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Department of Health

Tobacco Control Measures

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry South, Independent)
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222. To ask the Minister for Health if he will reconsider the proposal for plain packaging for tobacco products (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47625/13]

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Minister, Department of Health; Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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As the Deputy will be aware, Government approval was received on 28th May 2013 to begin the process of introducing standardised packaging of tobacco products in Ireland.

Research shows that standardised packaging will:

-Increase the noticeability, recall and impact of health warning messages;

-Reduce the ability of packaging to mislead consumers to believe that some products may be less harmful than others; and

-Reduce the attractiveness of the tobacco product, for both adults and children.

Ireland is party to legally binding agreements between the EU and three major tobacco companies which aim to strengthen anti-smuggling measures. In addition, the Protocol to Eliminate the Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products was agreed at the FCTC Conference of the Parties in November 2012, and Ireland will sign and ratify that protocol.

The Office of the Revenue Commissioners is responsible for tackling the illicit trade in cigarettes and tobacco products. Combating this illegal activity is a high priority for Revenue, whose work in this field has been guided in recent years by its Strategy on Combating the Illicit Tobacco Trade 2011-2013 . The intention is that a further strategy will be put in place, when the current one comes to an end, to act as the strategic focus for the ongoing extensive work against the smuggling and sale of illicit products.

In relation to packaging, it is important to note that the Revenue Commissioners have advised that the tax stamp, which contains a range of sophisticated security features, is a key means for them to distinguish between legal and illegal products, irrespective of the way in which the cigarettes are packaged.


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