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Ireland becomes the first country in Europe to pass plain tobacco packaging bill

Last Update 06/04/2021

A bill calling for the plain packaging of tobacco products has been successfully passed in the Republic of Ireland.


A bill calling for the plain packaging of tobacco products has been successfully passed in the Republic of Ireland.

This bill means that any tobacco manufactured after 20 May, 2016 will have to be sold in unbranded packaging. The aim is to prevent children and young people from being enticed into taking up smoking.

Speaking of the bill, Ireland’s minister for children and youth affairs, James Reilly, said: “The interests of public health will be served when children decide never to take up smoking in the first place and if smokers are persuaded to quit. We have a duty to prevent our children from being lured into a killer addiction.”

Ireland follows Australia as the second country in the world to introduce such legislation. Across Europe, several other countries – including the UK, France, Norway and Turkey – have been considering such a ban.

Chair of the European Respiratory Society (ERS) Tobacco Control Committee, Carlos Jimenez Ruiz, commented: “ERS has consistently called for larger health warnings and standard packs to help prevent smoking and we applaud the Irish government for taking this courageous step. We believe this will trigger changes across the EU, as we saw after Ireland introduced smoke free public areas. This legislation serves the interests of public health and we are certain it will help to dissuade children from taking up tobacco and persuade smokers to quit. We now encourage other countries across the EU to follow Ireland’s lead.”

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