New warnings for cigarette packets


Cigarette packets with graphic photographs highlighting the dangers of smoking will appear in shops from next month, Minister for Primary Care Alex White has said.

Mr White launched a new report Women and Smoking: Time to face the crisis compiled by the Irish Cancer Society in association with the National Women’s Council of Ireland in Dublin this morning.

The Minister said smoking was causing “immense damage” to the health of women in this country and he believed “de-normalising” smoking would be the most successful way of preventing young people from taking up the habit.

He said Minister for Health James Reilly had signed regulations to obligate tobacco manufacturers to include pictures on their packaging. “From February 1st 2013 these will appear in shops,” he said.

Mr White said no one measure would be effective on its own and revealed his Department was constantly monitoring the marketing tactics of tobacco companies.

The report states 27 per cent of women smoke but a much higher rate is seen among women aged 18 to 29 in deprived social class groups.

It recommended community-based cessation programmes to overcome the reality that smoking is a “cultural norm” in many communities, providing a sense of “solidarity and belonging”.

The report said all healthcare professionals should have the capacity to conduct cessation intervention and be encouraged to do so.

The Irish Cancer Society’s head of advocacy and communications Kathleen O’Meara said the tobacco industry was targeting young women through “innovative” packaging and “slimline” cigarettes which were used to “glamorise” smoking.

The National Women’s Council of Ireland’s chief executive Orla O’Connor said more women in Ireland were now dying from lung cancer than from breast cancer, and stressed this was a particular problem in areas of social disadvantage. She also called for “plain” packaging for tobacco products.

The Government has undertaken a review of current tobacco policy, which is expected to be published shortly.