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Ireland ready to follow Australia's plain cigarette packaging

Ireland ready to follow Australia's plain cigarett
Photo: Ireland ready to follow Australia's plain cigarett
Ireland is ready to follow Australia's introduction of similar plain packaging for cigarettes.

Ten years since setting a trend with its workplace smoking ban, Ireland is pushing ahead to be the first EU state with plain packaging for cigarettes.

In March 2004, Ireland became the first country in the world to adopt a total workplace smoking ban.

A decade on, Ireland is at the forefront for Europe, following Australia's introduction of similar plain packaging legislation in 2012.

As part of Dublin's plan to make Ireland a smoke-free society by 2025 - meaning a prevalence rate of under five percent - lawmakers will vote to introduce plain packaging in the new year.

Under the draft legislation before parliament, all forms of branding, including logos and colours, would be banned and all products would have a uniform packaging with graphic health warnings.

Australia's move was met with fierce opposition by tobacco companies and other nations, particularly tobacco-producing economies.

As was the case in Australia, the tobacco companies are fighting Dublin's plans.

They argue that plain packaging infringes their intellectual property rights.

"No evidence has emerged from Australia, where plain packaging has been in place for almost two years, showing that plain packaging has changed the rate of decline in smoking or has had any actual positive behavioural impact at all," Japan Tobacco International's general manager in Ireland, Igor Dzaja, told AFP in an email interview.

The tobacco companies say no concrete evidence exists to show the Australian ban was responsible for a reduction in smoking rates, despite Canberra stating daily smoking rates are down from 15.1 per cent to 12.8 per cent in three years.

Philip Morris International said imposing an "arbitrary ban on trademarks ignores the hard data showing that 'plain packaging' is misguided and unjustifiable".

Dublin is also looking to ban smoking in cars with children and to continue increasing the price of tobacco.

AAP.

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