Thursday, January 23, 2014

Health Comm hears no evidence that plain packaging would increase cigarette smuggling

Fine Gael Meath East TD and member of the Oireachtas Health Committee, Regina Doherty TD, has today (Thursday) said representations made to the Committee have made it clear that there is no evidence to suggest that the introduction of plain packaging would increase the rate of cigarette smuggling. 

Today’s Committee heard representations from Derek Byrne, Assistant Garda Commissioner; Gerard Moran, Assistant Secretary, Revenue Commissioners; and Gavin Maguire, Assistant National Director, National Tobacco Control Office.

“The evidence provided at the Committee meeting should help to dispel some of the rumours surrounding the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes. Assistant Garda Commissioner, Derek Byrne, reassured the Committee that there is no evidence available to the GardaĆ­ that introducing plain packaging would lead to an increase in the trade of illicit tobacco. 

“The Committee also heard that customs officials in the UK and mainland Europe have indicated clearly that there is no evidence to link plain packaging to an increase in counterfeit cigarettes. Assistant Commissioner Byrne also gave a commitment that the GardaĆ­ will closely monitor the black market after the introduction of plain packaging, and implement any changes to control measures if necessary. 

“Authorities here are closely watching the impact of the introduction of plain cigarette packaging in Australia. I found it particularly interesting to hear from the HSE that initial figures from Australia indicate that the number of young people taking up smoking there has fallen by 15%. This is extremely encouraging, and something which would be very welcome if we could replicate it here. 

“I absolutely believe that the introduction of plain packaging is a positive step forward and will help in our fight to reduce smoking rates here. The evidence given at today’s Health Committee further strengthens this view.”

No comments: