Yesterday (3 April 2014), was a good day for progressive health policy on these islands. Our Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children published a most progressive report on plain packaging legislation; while in Britain there has been a very positive indication yesterday that similar legislation to that which is being introduced in Ireland could emerge after a brief period of consultation.
The Joint Oireachtas Committee, which has made twenty-six recommendations in total, has presented its report on the Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Bill 2013 to the Minister for Health James Reilly. These include:
• the standardisation of the size of tobacco packaging;
• the inner packaging of tobacco products to be the same colour as the outside surface;
• a separate and distinct definition for brand, company and business name so as to prevent tobacco manufacturers from promoting brand variants to the status of brands; and
• the maximum length/number of characters in brand and variant names.
• Brand and variant names appearing on individual cigarette sticks should also be prohibited.
• Information messages which set out the ingredients and emissions of tobacco products, should be required on at least one side of tobacco packaging.
The Committee, under Deputy Gerry Buttimer, has also recommended that consideration should be given to the introduction of a ‘polluter pays’ type levy on tobacco manufacturers to be used to offset the health care costs associated with tobacco use. This proposal has been included in the ASH Ireland pre-budget submission for the past five years.
Speaking today, Dr Ross Morgan, Chairman ASH Ireland said, “Effective pro-health anti-tobacco legislation is a vital tool in the battle against smoking and nicotine addiction. Our Oireachtas Committee has met with various health bodies and other pro tobacco vested interests in its deliberations and has made important recommendations in support of the ‘standardised packaging legislation’. We now urge Minister Reilly to proceed without delay and introduce this health legislation and be encouraged that Britain has also decided to once again follow the Irish lead in the publication of the “Report of the Independent Review undertaken by Sir Cyril Chantler” yesterday which is a significant step closer to the introduction of plain packaging legislation in the UK.
For contact: ASH Ireland, 0818 305055
Wally Young, Young Communications, 087 2471520