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Plain pack cigarettes will 'save lives' and prevent child smokers

Ireland is to become the second country in the world to introduce plain packets of cigarettes.

This is what plain packs of cigarettes look like in Australia.
This is what plain packs of cigarettes look like in Australia.
Image: Commonwealth of Australia via Shutterstock

Updated with new image 20.15

AHEAD OF WORLD No Tobacco Day on Friday, the Minister for Health James Reilly has announced that Ireland is to become the second country in the world to introduce plain packets of cigarettes, after Australia.

Minister Reilly said he was “confident that this legislation will be justified and supported purely by the fact that it will save lives”.

Over 5,200 people die every year from tobacco related diseases and one in every two smokers will die from their addiction.

Research has shown that packaging has been used effectively to reassure consumers about the risks of smoking by using the words “mild” or “light”. Imagery and colours are also used to influence consumers.

The plain packs will have no branding, such as trademarks, logos, colours and graphics.  A uniform typeface will be used for all brands and the packs would all be in one plain, neutral colour.

Minister James Reilly holds up what the new cigarette packets will look like. (Image: Dept. of Health)

Child deaths

The Irish Cancer Society and the Irish Heart Foundation welcomed the Government’s announcement believing it will lead to less child smokers. They have urged the Government not to delay on  introducing the plain packs.

Meanwhile, the group, Retailers Against Smuggling has reacted angrily to the announcement and accused Minister Reilly of not ‘giving a damn’ about independent retailers. The retail group said plain packaging would make it easier to make illegal cigarettes and therefore, benefit criminals.

RAS spokesman Benny Gilsenan added that the sale of illegal cigarettes was severely damaging small retailers’ turnover and impulse purchases and that on average, shop owners were losing 30 per cent of sales due to smuggling.

The makers of John Player also issued a statement agreeing with RAS and said plain packaging would merely cut the supply chain costs for criminals and will have no impact on smoking consumption rates.

Minister Reilly acknowledged there would be many arguments for and against such an introduction, but what do you think?

Poll: Do you welcome the introduction of plain pack cigarettes?

Poll Results:

No (1882)
Yes (1087)
I'm not sure really (680)

Read: Reilly knew about Taoiseach’s tobacco meeting, but “would not” go>

More: Cigarettes, tobacco and counterfeit vodka seized in €1.5 million sting operation>

About the author:

Amy Croffey

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