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News / June 2, 2009

Ireland stands firm on tobacco ban

by Guy Hiscott

From 1 July 2009, the advertising and display of tobacco products will be prohibited in all premises that sell tobacco products to the public.

Also from that date, self-service vending machines will be prohibited except in licensed premises and registered clubs, and must be operated in accordance with the Public Health (Tobacco) (Retail Sign) Regulations 2009.

In addition, all retailers of tobacco products must register with the Office of Tobacco Control.

Further legislation is planned that will allow the Minister for Health and Children to make regulations for the introduction of combined text and photo warnings on tobacco products, as recommended by the European Commission.

‘We should not get complacent about tobacco,’ said Áine Brady TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Older People and Health Promotion. ‘Every year in Ireland, smoking is responsible for over 6,500 deaths. It is a huge burden for individuals, their families and the healthcare system. Recent lifestyle surveys clearly show that the level of smoking in adults is not reducing and that it has increased in young adults, especially among girls.’

The Minister went on to say: ‘Ireland has been among the leading countries to take measures to eliminate tobacco use from our society. We were one of the first countries to introduce restrictions on tobacco advertising and sponsorship, and led the world in its ‘Smoke-free at work’ initiative, which serves as a model for other countries.’

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, added: ‘Half of all smokers will die from smoking-related diseases and these deaths are preventable. Smoking reduces life expectancy by an average of 10 to 15 years.
‘We know that pictorial health warnings are very effective and are overwhelmingly supported by the public. I would like to remind people that measures to protect young people are particularly important, as we do not want a new generation of smokers to face a life-long pattern of poor health and early death.’