Press Release

Regulations Introduced by Minister Reilly to place graphic health warnings on cigarette packs

Dr James Reilly T.D., Minister for Health today (Wednesday 21st December, 2011) announced that he has now approved and signed regulations which will place an obligation on tobacco manufacturers to include graphic photographs on tobacco products packaging depicting the negative health impacts associated with smoking.

Research and experience in other countries has shown that health warnings combined with coloured photographs can be an effective means of discouraging smoking and informing people about the health risks related to smoking.

“We should never lose sight of the health consequences of smoking which remains the greatest single cause of preventable illness and premature death in Ireland, killing over 5,200 people a year.” the Minister said. “Every year, premature deaths caused by tobacco use in Ireland are far greater than the combined death toll from car accidents, fires, heroin, cocaine, murder and suicide.”

“I am committed to reducing the number of young people starting to smoke and to do all that I can to assist people in quitting this habit” the Minister said. “If, by introducing these graphic images on cigarette packs, some people are shocked into considering how smoking is impacting on them and their families then the warnings will have achieved their objective.”

All tobacco products placed on the market on or after 1 February 2013 must comply with the new regulations. Any tobacco products placed on the market prior to 1 February 2013 can continue to be sold or offered for sale until 1 February 2014.

The introduction of these warnings builds on other legislative measures taken to date in relation to tobacco including the ban in 2009 of the display and advertising of tobacco products in retail units. It is anticipated that these particular measures will have a positive impact on reducing the numbers of young people starting to smoke.

Note to Editors:

The Public Health (Tobacco) (General and Combined Warnings) Regulations 2011

European Communities (Manufacture, Presentation and Sale of Tobacco Products) (Amendment) Regulations 2011