Sinn Féin Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, Maeve McLaughlin MLA (Foyle) has welcomes measures to impose stricter sanctions on those who continue to sell tobacco to children and young people.
"Ms Mc Laughlin said:
"I welcome this move towards tackling the issue of selling tobacco products to our children and young people. Over 80% of smokers start the habit as teenagers.
"I would reiterate the call by my colleague, Martina Anderson MEP, who is the Shadow Raporteur guiding the Tobacco Products Directive through the EU Parliament, on Health Minister, Edwin Poots to now bring forward similar legislation on plain packaging, as announced by the British government recently and which is already being progressed by the Health Minister in Dublin.
“The packet is one of the last marketing devices left for the tobacco industry to exploit the opportunity to attract new young smokers of its products. It is essential that governments ensure that this ‘silent salesman’ is restricted as much as possible.
“2300 people - mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, nephews or nieces - will die in the next twelve months in the North of Ireland and over 7000 across the island because of smoking related illnesses. There is not just a demand on legislators to do everything possible to eradicate this threat to public health, it is a responsibility.”