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Ireland Becomes First To Ban Tabaco Advertising

 

Updated : Jul 1, 2009

A complete ban on tobacco advertising in shops comes into force today.

Many retailers have already implemented the ban in preparation for tomorrow's measures.

Seven years after it was first mooted, Ireland will become the first country in Europe to introduce the blanket ban.

The Office of Tobacco Control (OTC) said it was a pioneering move aimed at protecting children, with offenders facing fines of €3,000 or six months in prison.

Eamonn Rossi, OTC chief executive, claimed in-store advertising and displays showed tobacco as a familiar, acceptable and normal retail product.

“We know the tobacco industry requires hundreds of young Irish people to start smoking each week simply to maintain its customer base,” he said.

“For every smoker who dies or quits, the industry needs a ’replacement smoker’, a child who will become addicted and replenish the base of long-term smokers.

“We must break that cycle and in so doing significantly reduce the 6,500 people dying each year from tobacco use in this country.”

Research published by the OTC found 80% of child smokers in Ireland smoke just two brands – the two most heavily marketed through in-store displays.

Under the toughened rules on tobacco sales no advertising or displays of tobacco is permitted in shops; tobacco must be stored out of view; vending machines are banned except in pubs and clubs; and retailers must display signs warning tobacco can only be sold to over 18s.

The new laws also forces retailers to only use a card of pictures to inform smokers what tobacco they sell and shopkeepers must also register with the OTC.

The tobacco industry had fought the ban but dropped the challenge in January 2007.

Campaign group ASH Ireland backed the ban claiming the tobacco industry was becoming more creative in its marketing.

Dr Angie Brown, ASH Ireland chairperson, said: “Over the years retail outlets had become a major source of advertising and promotion for the tobacco industry.

“Thankfully this is all about to change”.

Ireland is the first country in the EU and the third in the world (after Canada and Iceland) to remove the advertising and display of tobacco products.

Tobacco will now be placed in closed plain containers behind the counter.

Vending machines in pubs will be token operated and within the sight of the bar manager.

 

 

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