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Anderson MEP calls on Poots to follow Dublin and London on Tobacco packaging

29 November, 2013 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson welcoming the British government's U-turn on its previous position not to introduce plain packaging for Tobacco Products as a welcome development has called on Assembly Health Minister, Edwin Poots to bring forward similar legislation to bring the North into line with Britain and the South of Ireland.

Martina Anderson commented:

“I welcome the British government's intention to introduce legislation bringing in plain packaging for tobacco products before the next Westminster election. This is a major reversal for the tobacco industry lobbying machine. With the Health Minister in Dublin already well advanced in his preparations to legislate on this issue it is imperative that Assembly Health Minister, Edwin Poots bring forward similar legislation so that there will be uniform regulations throughout these islands.

“The packet is one of the last marketing device in Europe left for the tobacco industry to exploit the opportunity to attract new young smokers of its products. With 94% of smokers taking up the deadly habit before the age of 25, it is essential that governments across the world 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.

“All EU members are signatories to the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention for Tobacco Control which obliges governments to ensure that public health policies are protected from undue influence from tobacco industry lobbying. Edwin Poots must act without delay to ensure the North is compliant with both the spirit and letter of this obligation.”

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