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Government 'should consider banning cigarette sales after 6pm'

An Oireachtas Committee has produced a detailed and wide-ranging report on the proposal to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes.

Source: Hugh O'Connell/YouTube

CONSIDERATION SHOULD BE given to banning the sale of cigarettes after 6pm, a cross-party report by TDs and Senators has recommended.

The Oireachtas Health Committee has this afternoon published its report on the Public Health Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Bill 2013 - legislation proposed by the government which aims to introduce plain packaging on tobacco products.

The 1,100-page report contains 26 recommendations including that the legislation should have a provision for the standardisation of packaging and that inner packaging of cigarettes should have the same colour as the outside of a pack.

It has also proposed that a levy on tobacco companies be considered to offset the healthcare costs of treating smokers for illnesses – a so-called ‘polluter pays’ levy.

The report also suggests that the Minister for Health James Reilly should consider introducing limits on the hours in which tobacco products can be sold so that, for example, they could not be sold between 7am and 9am and could not be sold after 6pm.

Source: Hugh O'Connell/YouTube

The report also says that consideration should be given to prohibiting the sale of cigarettes in pubs and clubs, a measure that was supported at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis in February.

The regulation of e-cigarettes should also be considered as should the setting up of a phone line for people to report those who are not compliant with the legislation and regulations.

The report also says that nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) should be more widely available, including at retail outlets where tobacco products are sold.

Health Minister James Reilly welcomed the publication of the report saying that it would aid the preparation of legislation as well inform the defence against what he said would be “the inevitable challenge of the tobacco companies” to the law.

“We’re not going to allow them destroy the future of our children,” he said.

Source: Hugh O'Connell/YouTube

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents criticised the report today, saying it does not address “the fact that growth in the illicit trade will follow the introduction of plain packaging”.

It cited research in Australia which, it claimed, showed that the introduction of plain packaging had shown consumption of illicit tobacco has grown by 12.7 per cent in just 12 months.

Read: Cigarette company unveils scary-looking anti plain-pack website

Tobacco bosses told: ‘You represent an illness industry, it’s payback time’

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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