Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed the decision by Assembly Health Minister, Edwin Poots to bring the North into line with Britain and the South of Ireland by introducing the necessary legislative motion for plain packaging of Tobacco Products.
Martina Anderson commented:
“As Shadow Rapporteur working on putting the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) through the legislative process in Europe, I welcome the decision by the Assembly Health Minister, Edwin Poots to bring forward a Legislative Consent Motion (LCM) on plain packaging for Tobacco products.
“This is very significant legislation which will contribute greatly to eradicating the temptation for young people to take up this deadly habit. Research shows that young people in the 11 to 16 age group are far more susceptible to tobacco advertising than other age groups.
“The packet is one of the last marketing devices in Europe left for the tobacco industry to exploit the opportunity to attract new young smokers to its products. With 94% of smokers taking up the deadly habit before the age of 25, it is essential that governments across the world ensure that this ‘silent sales aide’ is restricted as much as possible.
“2300 people – mothers, fathers, grandparents, brothers, sisters, nephews or nieces – will die in the next twelve months in the North of Ireland and over 7000 across the island because of smoking related illnesses. There is not just a demand on legislators to do everything possible to eradicate this threat to public health, it is a responsibility.
“All EU members are signatories to the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention for Tobacco Control which obliges governments to ensure that public health policies are protected from undue influence from tobacco industry lobbying. Tobacco is the only product that if used as advertised will kill 50% of users. Any other product resulting in this death rate would be banned without hesitation. ”