Cigarette Packs in Ireland May Get a New Look

The proposal for Ireland's new standard cigarette packaging
The proposal for Ireland's new standard cigarette packaging

By Matt Skwiat, Editorial Assistant
August / September 2013

Ireland is leading the way in the fight against smoking. This past May, the Irish Ministry of Health proposed legislation that would ban the use of cigarette pack branding. No more Marlboros or Camels on display. This would make Ireland the first country in the E.U. to pass such a ban, and the second country overall; Australia passed similar legislation in 2012. In recent years, Ireland has taken a strong stand against smoking. In 2004 the country was among the first to require smoke-free workplaces, in 2007 it put an end to selling ten-packs of cigarettes, and in 2009 it demanded graphic picture health warnings on cigarette packaging.

The Health Ministry estimates that over 5,000 people a year die from tobacco-related illness. The ban on cigarette branding would remove all traces of advertisement – including trademarks, logos, and graphics – from cigarette packs, replacing it with  a graphic visual warning and space for the company’s name in a generic font. Health Minister  Dr. James Reilly, said, “the introduction of standardized packaging will remove the final way for tobacco companies to promote their deadly product in Ireland.”

Tobacco manufacturers have countered, arguing that this measure will only increase the smuggling in of tobacco products and hurt the growth of small businesses. The ban proposal has been approved by the Irish cabinet (Taoiseach, Tanaiste and Ministers of State), and will be brought before the parliament as early as next year, while similar legislation is being introduced in Great Britain.

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