posted at 21:50
Author Name: Conor Barrins
Ireland pushes Europes anti-smoking drive with plain packaging
As part of Dublin's plan to make Ireland a smoke-free society by 2025 - meaning a prevalence rate of under five percent - lawmakers will vote to introduce plain packaging in the new year. A decade on, Ireland is at the forefront for Europe, following Australia's introduction of similar plain packaging legislation in 2012. "No evidence has emerged from Australia, where plain packaging has been in place for almost two years, showing that plain packaging has changed the rate of decline in smoking or has had any actual positive behavioural impact at all," Japan Tobacco International's general manager in Ireland, Igor Dzaja, told AFP in an email interview. Pat Doorley, head of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Policy Group on Tobacco, said 50 studies show the measure will work. Tobacco companies argue that plain packaging infringes their intellectual property rights. Philip Morris International said imposing an "Arbitrary ban on trademarks ignores the hard data showing that 'plain packaging' is misguided and unjustifiable". JTI agreed, stating "Plain packaging would leave JTI unable to exploit its intellectual property rights commercially, making them, for all practical purposes, valueless in Ireland." Reilly said Ireland could hit its smoke-free target despite a current prevalence rate of 21.5 according to Ireland's health service.

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