Fine Gael Senator for Dublin Catherine Noone, has today hit out at claims by German politicians and lobby groups that the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes would somehow damage the Irish economic recovery.
“There is no evidence to show that the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes would cause damage to the Irish economic recovery, this is not the case at all. Plain packaging in Australia has not been shown to have damaged the Australian economy. I actually believe that plain packaging could lead to a decrease in illicit tobacco trade, if we embedded the right security features in the packaging.
“Clearly, the tobacco industry and their lobbyists are shaking in their boots as they realise that this is about to happen, and will damage their business. It is estimated that the overall cost of smoking-related illness to the State is in excess of €4 billion. A report submitted to the European Commission in 2012, shows that the burden from smoking cost the European economy €544 billion in 2009 – equivalent to about 4.6 % of the EU’s GDP.
“This measure will have a positive impact and, as with our introduction of the smoking ban, other European countries will sit up, take notice, and wonder when they should begin implementing it themselves. Ireland is seen as a leader in progressive, anti-tobacco legislation, and long may that continue”.