Minister Wallace responds to retailers’ concerns
Ms Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children with special responsibility for Health Promotion and Food Safety announced today (Friday, 27 March 2009) that, in preparation for the commencement of further provisions of the Public Health (Tobacco) Acts 2002 and 2004 which come into effect on 1 July 2009, and in response to concerns raised by stakeholders, she is amending the existing tobacco legislation.
The main changes proposed are to
- allow judicial discretion on the period of time that a person who is convicted of an offence under the Acts is removed from the retail register (this register will be established and maintained by the Office of Tobacco Control). Removal from the register will now be for a period not exceeding 90 days, whilst still maintaining 90 days as the maximum penalty.
- permit airport duty free outlets to display a pictorial list of the tobacco products sold in their outlets until 2013 (the proposed time limit of 2013 is in line with proposed legislation for UK airports). These pictorial lists will consist of visual images of packets of the tobacco products sold by the airport duty free outlets.
- allow specialist tobacco retailers the choice of selling either
- tobacco products and tobacco related products only, or
- in addition to tobacco products, non-tobacco related products whilst prohibiting the sale of cigarettes. As the legislation stands, they can only sell tobacco products and tobacco related products.
- allow the Minister make regulations to introduce combined text and photo warnings (also known as pictorial warnings or as graphic warnings) on tobacco products as recommended by the European Commission.
The Minister went onto to state that “It is my intention to have this legislation enacted before the summer recess, thus complementing the measures to be introduced on 1 July 2009.”
The Minister further stated that if we do not make progress on reducing the impact of tobacco, in the next ten years, it is estimated to cost our health service in excess of €23 billion and that this would pay the entire cost of running our health services for almost two years.