Tobacco products will be sold in plain packaging from September 30th, as new advertising laws come into effect.
The move is aimed at making smoking less attractive, health warnings more prominent and preventing consumers from being mislead about the harmful effects of tobacco.
Health Minister Simon Harris and Minister of State Marcella Corcoran Kennedy announced today that the legislation for the standardised packaging of tobacco would come into force, following the signing of the commencement order by Minister Corcoran Kennedy for the provisions of the Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Act 2015.
According to the department, standardised packaging means that:
- all forms of branding – trademarks, logos, colours and graphics – are to be removed from tobacco packs
- The brand and variant names would be presented in a uniform typeface for all brands
- the packs would all be in one plain neutral colour
Any products made before the date will still be allowed to be sold for another 12 months.
Anti-smoking groups have welcomed the news, with ASH Ireland stating that it represents the removal of the "last major element of tobacco advertising in this country."
The Irish Cancer Society called it another "significant milestone" on the road to a creating a 'Tobacco Free Ireland' by 2025.
Minister Harris commented:
“Smoking is a significant cause of ill-health in Ireland. Almost 6,000 people die from tobacco related disease and tobacco use.
"That is 6,000 families who go through the pain of losing a loved one when the stark reality is that these deaths are unnecessary and avoidable. It has been estimated to cost Irish society a total of €10.7 billion annually in healthcare, productivity and other costs."
Minister Corcoran Kennedy added:
"There is strong evidence emerging from Australia, that introducing standardised packaging is both effective and proportionate in reducing the toll of tobacco use on the population.
"Research has shown that younger people are more influenced by brands. Ireland has the lowest age of children starting to smoke among all the EU Member States and almost 80% of smokers in Ireland start when they are children."