Number of cigarettes sold in a packet must be limited to 20 – Burke

10th October 2021 - Colm Burke TD

Ireland must build on its strong anti-smoking credentials by limiting the number of cigarettes sold in a packet to 20, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Fine Gael Spokesperson on Health, Deputy Colm Burke said, “For more than 20 years, a mixture of smoking controls, plain packaging, advertising bans, taxation and effective public health measures have all contributed to a significant reduction in cigarette smoking in Ireland.

“However, tobacco companies are constantly looking for opportunities to circumvent these anti-smoking measures and one way of doing so is by increasing the number of cigarettes sold in a packet.

“There’s currently a ban on selling less than 20 cigarettes in a packet, but there is no ban on selling packets containing greater than 20, with many companies selling cigarettes in packets of 23, 28 or 35.

“According to Revenue, sales of these larger packets now account for around 30% of all cigarette sales in Ireland.

“Studies indicate that cigarette pack size is positively associated with consumption meaning larger packets, which are usually a little cheaper per cigarette, likely result in higher levels of smoking.[1]

“We have introduced countless measures to discourage smoking, with Ireland making history back in 2004 when we were the first country in the world to introduce legislation banning smoking across nearly all workplaces, including pubs and restaurants. While the number of smokers continues to decrease, almost 6,000 people die each year from tobacco related diseases.

“Legislation now needs to be introduced to prohibit the sale of packets of more than 20 cigarettes.

“Reducing the number of smokers is a key priority for Government; the HSE’s Tobacco Free Ireland initiative has set an ambitious goal that by 2025 we will enjoy a society where tobacco has been nearly entirely eliminated, with less than 5% people continuing to smoke. If we are to meet this target, we need bold and ambitious policy and legislation to match the vision,” concluded Deputy Burke.

[1] Should cigarette pack sizes be capped? – Blackwell – 2020 – Addiction – Wiley Online Library

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