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Graphic images to appear on cigarette packets from today

The use of similar images in Canada and Brazil have helped increase awareness of the negative effects of smoking.

Image: open packet of cigarettes via Shutterstock

GRAPHIC IMAGES ARE to appear on cigarette packets from today, in a move which government hope will lead to a decrease in the number of smokers in Ireland.

The images, which depict the negative health impacts associated with smoking, will appear on all cigarette packaging on the Irish market.

When similar packaging was introduced in Canada, it resulted in a fourfold increase in the number of smokers who intended to quit smoking, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The WHO also found that a change in packaging in Brazil resulted in 56 per cent of people becoming more aware of the health consequences of smoking.

Ahead of today’s introduction the Minister for Health Dr James Reilly said that he hoped the images would give people a clearer understanding of the dangers of smoking, saying:

Half, or one in two, of all long-term smokers will die from smoking related diseases. This is a stark statistic. There is no doubt that if tobacco were discovered today, knowing what we know about its lethal effects, it would not be a legal product.

Acknowledging that the images which appear from today would shock some people, Reilly said that it would be worth it if it made people realise “how smoking impacts on them and their families”.

The Chief Medical Officer within the Department of Health, Dr Tony Holohan, said that it was important to remember the detrimental impact that smoking had on Irish society and that it remained the greatest single cause of preventable illness and premature death, resulting in the deaths of over 5,200 annually.

Dr Ross Morgan of ASH Ireland welcomed today’s introduction, saying that the images would inform smokers of the realities which will face many of them.

Tobacco products that were placed on the market before today are allowed to remain on sale until this day next year. All new products, however, must carry the images.

Read: Smokers’ group slams introduction of graphic health warnings >

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Paul Hyland

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