Tobacco Products Kill – governments must act – Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has described the British government’s decision to halt plans to introduce plain packaging for Tobacco Products as surrendering to the well-oiled Tobacco Industry Lobbying machine.

Martina Anderson commented:

“The decision by the British government to halt plans to introduce‘plain packaging’ for tobacco products is disgraceful. It should be ashamed, having so blatantly bowed to tobacco industry lobbying.

“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 of 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 salesman’ is restricted as much as possible.

“700,000 people die in Europe every year from tobacco related diseases, 2300 of them in the North of Ireland causing hurt and devastation for hundreds of thousands of families. Perhaps the British government, even if unconcerned about the human tragedies caused by this death product, should reflect on the massive cost to the Health Service, before surrendering to the well-oiled lobbying machine of the tobacco industry. Of course, when the British PM hires a political advisor who was previously a tobacco industry lobbyist, this U-turn on a matter of such importance for public health is perhaps less surprising.

“All EU countries 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. It is clear that these obligations have not been adhered to by the British government. The British government should follow the example of the Irish Health Minister who is bringing forward measures to introduce 100% plain packaging on tobacco products.”