Minister for Health welcomes European Parliament vote in favour of Tobacco Products Directive

European Parliament Vote for the Tobacco Products Directive

Statement by Dr James Reilly, T.D., Minister for Health

Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly, TD, today welcomed the news that the European Parliament has voted in favour of the Tobacco Products Directive.

Among the measures in the Directive is a ban on the use of Menthol as an additive to affect the flavour of the tobacco. Commenting on that specific change Minister Reilly stated "it very important because it will ensure that the tobacco industry can no longer disguise the unpleasant taste of tobacco which as we know kills one in two people who use it. There are a range of other measures in the Directive which taken together will go a long way towards protecting our young people from this killer product."

The warnings on the front of cigarette packets which double in size and will have a graphic photograph stressing the major health risks involved in smoking. “I am particularly pleased with the larger health warnings on both sides of the pack of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco. These warnings and other measures outlined in the Directive will complement and enhance the standardised packaging measures I am introducing for tobacco products”.

“The passing of this Directive at EU level and Ireland’s proposed standardised packaging legislation will help reduce the number of children and young people who start smoking.” the Minister said.

In addition, the Directive will put in place an EU-wide tracking and tracing system to combat illicit trade of tobacco products - the first of its kind in the EU.

The Minister noted that the Directive was the main health related priority for Ireland during our recent EU Presidency in 2013, saying “I am proud that Ireland was able to play such a key role in progressing this Directive and I would like to congratulate all those involved. The Directive is an important piece of legislation in the task of protecting people from the harms of tobacco”.

Tobacco consumption is the largest avoidable health threat in Ireland and the European Union. There are approximately 700,000 deaths from tobacco related illnesses in the European Union each year.

The Minister noted that Ireland has made good progress on tobacco control policy to date, and reaffirmed his commitment to continue tackling the issue, 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.”

Ends


Press and Communications Office, Department of Health| (+353) 1 635 4477| www.healthupdate.gov.ie| Twitter @roinnslainte