Ireland’s Health Minister, Dr. James Reilly, has received approval from his coalition colleagues to introduce standardized packs for tobacco products, according to a number of local and Australian media stories.
So far, Australia is the only country to have imposed such packs, which are hugely dominated by graphic health warnings, from which trademarks and graphics are banned, and on which brand names have to be included in a small, specified font.
Reilly said he was confident the move would save lives and help the “enormous burden of illness and mortality” smoking placed on society.
Opponents of the move said there was no evidence that the introduction of standardized packs would reduce smoking significantly, and they warned that it was likely to boost the illicit trade in tobacco products.
However, the announcement has received a lot of support and, in part, the story demonstrates that a week is a long time in politics. Last week, the Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, and two of his senior ministers (Reilly was not one of them) were under fire for holding a meeting with representatives of the tobacco industry and for not making public immediately the fact that the meeting had taken place.
Category: Breaking News