Tobacco lobby legal threats “disappointing” – Noone
Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone today urged the Government to hold firm on plans to introduce plain packaging on tobacco products in like of reported threats of legal action by tobacco companies.
“In light of reported legal action against the Government’s plans for plain packaging of tobacco products we heed to hold firm against these tactics. The question I want answered is: if the tobacco industry doesn’t believe that plain packaging works, why are they opposing it so vigorously?”
“The issue of counterfeit tobacco has been raised again. One has to ask if the illicit tobacco trade is so rife, and increasing, then surely a type of packaging which is composed entirely of anti-counterfeiting measures, as opposed to having distracting brands, fonts and colours, will be harder to counterfeit than the current packs are, given the security features are just one single component of the packaging? The tobacco industry argument doesn’t hold up to basic scrutiny.
“The statistics highlight what many of us know to be true – plain packaging works. Plain packaging was introduced in Australia in December 2012 and the latest Australian Government statistics show that the proportion of Australians smoking is at its lowest level since records began while smoking rates are falling at their fastest rate in 20 years.
“Similarly, younger people are delaying the take up of smoking — the age at which 14 to 24-year-olds smoked their first full cigarette increased from 14.2 in 1995 to 15.9 years in 2013. Meanwhile, smokers reduced the average number of cigarettes smoked per week, from 111 cigarettes in 2010 to 96 in 2013.
“I must say I find the legal threats of the tobacco industry to be disappointing and I call on the Government to absolutely stick to its argument and implement this as soon as possible. I would also call on representatives from all parties in the Oireachtas to make their support for plain packaging known – Ireland led the way with the smoking ban, we can lead the way again here.”