NI 'needs urgent tobacco law'

Published Wednesday, 22 January 2014
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Northern Ireland risks falling behind the rest of the UK on plain tobacco packaging if a new law is not introduced urgently, a campaign group has said.

NI 'needs urgent tobacco law'
A doctor looks over a cancer patient's image scan to help plan a treatment. (© Getty)


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Do you think tobacco should only come in plain packaging?

It would require the removal of the attractive promotional aspects of containers and order that all packs carry strong health messages.

Gerry McElwee, head of cancer prevention for the Cancer Focus Northern Ireland charity, said: "The campaign for standardised packaging has gained massive public support because it will protect future generations from being seduced by tobacco industry marketing and will encourage smoking cessation in adults. It would be a catastrophe if it fell at this late stage.

"It is vitally important that Northern Ireland is not left behind the rest of the UK on this crucial piece of legislation."

A piece of Assembly business known as a legislative consent motion is needed to include Northern Ireland in a Bill being considered in the House of Lords allowing Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to introduce standardised packaging regulations.

Mr McElwee added: "We believe that all regions of the UK should benefit from comprehensive controls on tobacco marketing, which are designed to provide more effective safeguards for children and young people, from the devastating effects of smoking."

Around 340,000 smokers are aged over 16 in Northern Ireland; most started while still children and a key purpose of standardised packaging is to make it more difficult to market smoking to children and young people.

Cancer Focus said the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister needed adopt the motion urgently if it to be introduced in time for the Westminster deadline.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Ryan in An Dun wrote (374 days ago):
What about the people that buy counterfeit. These eejits arnt worried about their health why would they be worried about whats on the packet. Any youngster that starts smoking now knowing what we know now through tv ads etc needs their head looked.
Denise in Ballymena wrote (374 days ago):
I am a non smoker, but HOW does making the packs blank change things?? OH I know, I makes it easier to sell counterfeit ones, which from what little I know, means the government will get less tax and are they not meant to be more dangerous as nobody can be sure whats in them? I think this is just utter rubbish, live and let live!!! If someone wants to smoke let them. Just the same way if someone wants to feed themselves or their kids on fast food and chocolate and sweeties and crisps, its up to them. Or are they going to put everything in blank packaging, it will be a world of lucky dip - you want a bar or Diary milk and you get - well its a lucky dip - who knows!!!! This is just total rubbish and playing into the hands of criminals who want to sell counterfeit goods!!! Well done the government lol
ian in Belfast wrote (374 days ago):
As if plain packaging will stop youngsters smoking. Illegal drugs come in tin foil but that doesn't stop them taking it up. The introduction of plain packaging will just make money for the companies who make cases to hide the heath warnings on cigarette packs. They are probably sponsored by the tobacco companies
John in North sea wrote (374 days ago):
If people want to smoke let them, if all these do gooders would do more to protect our children from child abuse i think it would better time well well spent.
john in crumlin wrote (374 days ago):
i work in lots off different peoples houses can i refuse to work their if they smoke in the house
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