New cigarette packaging to be agreed

The size and position of warnings on cigarette packets could be agreed today.

The Oireachtas Health Committee is beginning a series of hearings about standardised cigarette packaging, which will remove branding and have prominent displays of the consequences of smoking.

5,200 people die each year in Ireland from smoking related diseases.

Representatives from the Gardai, Revenue and National Tobacco Control Office will attend today's hearings.

The Irish Heart, Cancer and Asthma Foundations have come together to support the plan, claiming that research from Australia has found that plain packaging discourages children from taking up smoking.

Gardaí and the Revenue Commissioners have told the committee that plain cigarette packaging will not lead to a surge in the illicit tobacco trade – contrary to the claims of the tobacco industry and retail groups.

Representatives from the HSE said they believe the scheme could lead to a dramatic increase in the number of people quitting smoking, citing a similar programme in Australia as an example of success.

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