Reilly: I have moral authority of the Irish people to fight tobacco companies

The Health Minister said today that although he lacks the financial resources of tobacco companies, he "has something much more powerful - the moral authority of the Irish people".

Minister James Reilly made the comments at the publication of a report into plans to change packaging of tobacco companies.

The 1,100-page report from the Oireachtas Health Committee makes 26 recommendations - many of which the Minister already planned.

"This Government and this entire Oireachtas, is behind this," he said.

The Minister also said that Ireland is regarded internationally as a leader in the area of tobacco control, saying: “I was very pleased that we received approval from Government last November to proceed with the drafting of a Bill that will introduce standardised packaging for tobacco products similar to what is in place in Australia.”

The Minister claimed that the cumulative effect of Ireland’s tobacco control legislation to date has been a decrease in the number of people smoking.

“The latest figures from the National Tobacco Control Office report that 21.5% of Irish adults smoke. This represents a decline of 2.2% since 2010, and a decline of 7.5% since 2007 when the last comprehensive large scale study on smoking prevalence in Ireland was undertaken.”

The Minister reaffirmed his commitment to continue tackling smoking, stating

“My priority is to reduce the consumption of tobacco across the board, to meet our policy target of making Ireland tobacco free (i.e. with a smoking prevalence rate of less than 5%) by 2025.”

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