Government gives the go-ahead on plain packaging of cigarettes

THE Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Bill to remove all branding from cigarette packets has been approved by the government at a meeting this morning and will now go to the Oireachtas health committee for feedback.

The bill also permits for larger health warnings on a standard packet of cigarettes as over 5,000 people still die every year from tobacco related diseases.

Ireland is the first country in the European Union to permit plain uniform cigarette packaging. Ireland was also the first country in the world to ban smoking in all enclosed public spaces, public transport and workplaces in 2004.

Australia introduced plain olive green packets for cigarettes and tobacco products last year, prompting anger from tobacco firms.

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents have criticised the bill warning it will enable the black market.

Lilah Gafaar