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Home > Seanad Eireann debate. Public Health (Tobacco) (Amendment) Bill 2013: Committee Stage.

[Oireachtas] Seanad Eireann debate. Public Health (Tobacco) (Amendment) Bill 2013: Committee Stage. (29 May 2013)


An Leas-Chathaoirleach: I welcome the Minister for Health, Deputy Reilly, to the House. Amendments Nos. 1 and 2 are related and may be discussed together by agreement.


Senator Sean D. Barrett: We will not be moving amendment No. 1. 


Amendment No. 1 not moved. 


Senator Sean D. Barrett: I move amendment No. 2:

In page 4, between lines 9 and 10, to insert the following:
“(e) the prohibition of the sale of any tobacco product other than in plain packaging to be determined by the Minister;
(f) the prohibition of the sale of any tobacco product in a licensed premises or filling station.”.
I welcome the Minister to the House. This is an issue on which everyone is on the same side. There are several people in the Visitors Gallery who are survivors of cancer and I welcome them too.

On previous visits to the House, the Minister has stated the cost of tobacco smoking to the health service is €1 billion a year. The Health Service Executive estimates 5,000 people die from smoking while anti-smoking groups put it at 7,000. Today, if someone announced he had invented tobacco but it would lead to so many deaths and cost the health service €1 billion, there is no way we would license the product. The Stamp Out Smoking campaign aims to eliminate tobacco consumption from the landscape by 2030. We have to get it across to the industry that it is time to wind up and that we cannot allow this commodity to continue.

If this amendment is of use to the Minister as he plots his course in tackling tobacco consumption, I say more power to his elbow. I do not want to divide the House as there are no pro-smoking Members present.

It was the Minister who first suggested, and it was discussed this morning on “Morning Ireland”, plain wrapping for cigarette packets. If the Minister and others have evidence that younger people are attracted to smoking by colourful packaging, then this amendment would introduce plain packaging to deal with that issue. This also allows the Seanad to express its support for the Minister in his intention in this regard.

As part of the general idea that this commodity would not be licensed if it were introduced today, we must commit to a programme to reduce the availability of this seriously damaging product. The amendment proposes that tobacco products should not be on sale in a licensed premise or filling station so as to reduce the availability of this damaging and toxic product……

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