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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 608, 675 & 676 - Tobacco control measures [31418/14, 31419/14 & 31421/14] [Plain packaging].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 608, 675 & 676 - Tobacco control measures [31418/14, 31419/14 & 31421/14] [Plain packaging]. (15 Jul 2014)

External website: http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20a...


 608. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health if he notified the Department of the Taoiseach in the context of the preparation of the national risk assessment that he expects the tobacco industry to sue the Government when it introduces plain packaging for tobacco products for compensation over loss of intellectual property rights; if this risk has been or will be quantified; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31418/14]

 675. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health if his Department has notified the Department of the Taoiseach of any economic or social risks in the context of its preparation of the national risk assessment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31419/14]

 676. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health if his Department has notified the Department of the Taoiseach of any economic or social risks to in the context of its preparation of the national risk assessment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31421/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 608, 675 and 676 together. In its publication entitled "Technical Resource for Country Implementation of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Article 5.3", the WHO has outlined the various forms of tobacco industry tactics to interfere with tobacco control measures. Litigation and threat of litigation is one of the forms mentioned. These measures are often utilised as a means of delaying various legislative provisions from coming into operation and as a means of diverting resources away from other tobacco control and health promotion initiatives.

Litigation also acts as a deterrent for other countries from developing and enacting new progressive pieces of tobacco control legislation. The threat of litigation should not be an obstacle to the introduction of important public health measures.

I am of the view that standardised packaging for tobacco products is a proportionate, evidence-based public health measure which will assist, together with the other many initiatives outlined in Tobacco Free Ireland  , in reducing the overall prevalence of smoking in Ireland. The introduction of standardised packaging has the support of the Government and has been considered and approved by Government

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