Skip Page Header

Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 183 & 184 - Tobacco control measures [25202/17 & 25203/17].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 183 & 184 - Tobacco control measures [25202/17 & 25203/17]. (25 May 2017)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2017...


183. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health the steps he will take to address the use of disposable tins by tobacco companies to bypass upcoming plain packaging laws; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25202/17]

 

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy): The Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Act 2015 provides that cigarette packets must be made of carton or soft material. This particular provision is transposed from the EU Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU) and was commenced on 20th May 2016. The legislation permitted non-compliant packages to be sold until 20 May 2017. Therefore, cigarette packs for retail sale since 20 May 2017 must be made from carton or soft material.

 

The remaining provisions of the Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Act 2015 will commence in September, 2017. From that time all retail packaging for tobacco products manufactured for retail sale must comply with the Act, for example, all packaging will have the same colour and the use of images, logos or text on packs, except health warnings and brand names, will be prohibited.

 

The Deputy raises the issue of the possible reuse of non-compliant tins by smokers to hide or disguise the standardised packaging and the newly increased sized health warnings. Research has shown that where smokers displayed such behaviours in terms of efforts to hide the warnings using a case, these smokers were just as likely as others to subsequently attempt to quit smoking and report benefits from health warnings. The study goes on the state that " avoidance behaviour might be more reasonably interpreted as a measure of effectiveness: if the warnings were ineffective in communicating the threatening consequences of smoking there would be no reason to avoid them".

 

Specifically in relation to standardised packaging, a study in Australia found that after the introduction of standardised or plain packaging, there was a slight increase in the use of external cigarette cases for a short period of time before returning to pre-standardised packaging levels.

 

184. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health the steps he will take to address tobacco companies rapidly increasing the production of products affected by plain packaging laws prior to the 30 September 2017 deadline; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25203/17]

 

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy): As the Deputy has stated, all the provisions of the Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Act 2015 and the regulations made under the Act will commence on 30 September 2017. Tobacco products manufactured and placed for sale prior to this date can continue to be sold until 30 September 2018. Therefore, from the 1 October 2018 all tobacco products on sale in Ireland must be in standardised packaging as set out in the legislation. Tobacco products in older, non-compliant packaging cannot be sold from 1 October 2018 regardless of any increased production of tobacco products which may take place prior to September, 2017.

 

In relation to tobacco manufacturers stocking up on tobacco products prior to the commencement of the standardised packaging legislation, the Department of Finance via the Revenue Commissioners has an overview of such activities and as such I have brought the Deputy's question to their attention.

Repository Staff Only: item control page