TIME TO STAND UP TO TOBACCO LOBBY AND EMBRACE PLAIN PACKAGING – NOONE
Fine Gael Dublin Senator Catherine Noone has called on the Government to “push ahead urgently” with plans to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes and to “ignore the pressure which is being piled on by the tobacco industry lobby”.
Speaking today, Senator Noone said: “Following the publication of a joint study between the Irish Heart Foundation and the Irish Cancer Society, it’s increasingly clear that plain packaging works, and will work if introduced in Ireland. However, there is no question that over the last year the tobacco industry has been lobbying politicians both in Ireland and Europe in an attempt to derail this legislation. It has done so both directly and indirectly through other organisations and, on this issue, they have attempted to hijack the agenda again and again”.
Senator Noone added: “The tobacco industry has had varying degrees of success in sidelining European legislation on tobacco in the current term, and is trying to do the same here, in particular an ill-considered attempt to link plain packaging with an increased incidence of counterfeiting. This is a red herring, and should be ignored. Counterfeiting has not increased in any demonstrable way in Australia since it was introduced and, let’s face it, with plain packaging, we can actually devote more space on cigarette packets to generic security features such as holograms”.
Senator Noone continued: “I am calling on the Minister to push on with this legislation as quickly as possible. It’s too important to relent now in the face of some vested interests. Plain packaging makes sense, it makes smoking less appealing to teenagers, and given one-third of cancers in Ireland are caused by smoking, it’s plainly obvious that something substantial must be done”.