Plain packaging for cigarettes rule takes effect this weekend
PLAIN packaging on cigarettes comes into effect this weekend, although it will take at least a week before shoppers see the plain packets in local stores.
Health experts have said the move reinforces Ireland’s standing as one of the leading countries in the world in the battle to stop smoking.
Dr Des Cox, chair of the policy group on tobacco at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, said it was a step towards achieving a tobacco-free Ireland by 2025.
He said: ‘Research to date has shown that plain packaging is successful in reducing the appeal of smoking through the replacement of brands and logos with health warnings.
‘Plain packaging eliminates tobacco packaging as a form of advertising and has been shown to help decrease tobacco consumption in countries where it has already been introduced.’
Ireland was the first country in the world to ban smoking in the workplace and will be the fourth to bring in plain packaging on cigarettes, which experts say has cut smoking rates in Australia.
Professor Elizabeth Keane, also of the Royal College of Physicians, welcomed the news, saying: ‘This will protect children from taking up smoking and will encourage existing smokers to quit.
‘More than 5,500 people die in Ireland each year from the effects of smoking.’
A spokesman for Retail Ireland said: ‘Most grocery outlets are linked to brands or symbol chains, so they tend to have a lot of stock which they can legally run out before the plain packaging comes into effect. In most stores, it will probably take at least a week.’
The Royal College of Physicians also called on the Government to increase excise duty on tobacco in its pre-Budget submission. It is widely expected that the tax on cigarettes will rise for the sixth consecutive year in a row.
Last year, Michael Noonan added 50cent to the cost of a pack of 20 cigarettes, bringing them to more than €11 for the first time.