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News Information

New graphic warnings to appear on cigarette packs

Date: Thursday 31 January, 2013

News Summary:

According to the Irish Heart Foundation, a new graphic warnings law will loosen the tobacco industry's grip on Irish teens when into effect from 1st February 2013.

Under the European Tobacco Products Directive, all tobacco products placed on the market on or after 1st February 2013, must comply with the new regulations and feature graphic warnings on the packaging.

News Content:

The introduction of graphic warnings on cigarette packs on 1st February 2013 represents the vital next step in loosening the grip of the multi-billion euro tobacco industry on Irish smokers, particularly teenagers, according to the Irish Heart Foundation.

Commenting on the introduction of legislation requiring graphic warnings of the effects of smoking on cigarette packs from tomorrow, February 1st 2013, Chris Macey, Head of Advocacy with the Irish Heart Foundation said: “Cigarette manufacturers have invested vast sums of money on brand imagery to target young people in an effort to replace around 50 smokers every day in Ireland who either die, or manage to quit.

“The effects of this are plain to see with 12% of 9-18 year olds currently  smoking in Ireland – up to 60,000 young people. Smoking remains the number one preventable cause of death in Ireland and worldwide. Tobacco is a highly addictive and lethal product, unfortunately 78% of smokers take up the habit before the age of 18. These statistics are horrendous and graphic images showing the deadly impact of smoking will not only prove more effective than current text warnings, they will also limit the industry’s power to use sophisticated pack designs as one of their marketing ploys to hook young smokers.”

According to the national charity fighting heart disease and stroke, research shows that graphic warnings also provide strong motivation for adult smokers to quit, with a new study from Harvard showing that 30% more smokers exposed to these images said they would give up within the next month than those exposed to text warnings only.

Mr Macey concluded: “Whilst the introduction of these images is a welcome development, international evidence shows that plain packaging, which retains the graphic warnings but removes all brand imagery is an even more effective deterrent.

“We urge the Government to follow the example of Australia and to introduce plain packs as quickly as is legally possible. Such a move would effectively end the last legal form of tobacco advertising in Ireland.”

Ends
For further information:
Contact Caroline Cullen, Communications Manager, Irish Heart Foundation
DL: 01-6346908 Mob: 086-6049282 Main: 01-6685001
Ceri Teggin, Communications Officer, DL: 01-6346917

Note to Editors: All tobacco products placed on the market on or after 1 February 2013 must comply with the new regulations. Any tobacco products placed on the market prior to 1 February 2013 can continue to be sold or offered for sale until 1 February 2014.

The graphic warning images approved by the Government are included in the statutory instruments on the following link: http://www.dohc.ie/legislation/statutory_instruments/pdf/si20110656.pdf?direct=1

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