Health Minister Jim Wells has announced that Northern Ireland will be included in UK-wide regulations on standardised packaging to be laid within the current Parliament. Speaking on the proposed measure, the Minister said: “Smoking remains the single greatest cause of preventable illness and premature death in Northern Ireland. Half of all smokers will be killed by their use of tobacco products.
“Branding on cigarette packets provides one of the last opportunities for tobacco companies to promote their products. Evidence shows that young people are more receptive to this type of advertising than adults. I believe that standardised packaging has the potential to contribute to a further reduction in child and adult smoking prevalence and look forward to this measure being introduced in Northern Ireland.”
Standardised packaging will require all cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco for retail sale to meet certain conditions including:
- a standard colour (dull brown on the outside and white on the inside)
- all text on the packaging, including brand name and variant, to be in a standard typeface
- no branding, advertising or promotion on the pack (except the use of the brand name)
All tobacco products will continue to carry health warnings and fiscal marks as required
It is intended that the regulations will come into force in May 2016 to coincide with wider tobacco control measures being introduced under the European Tobacco Products Directive.
Community pharmacy is the largest smoking cessation provider in Northern Ireland, supporting over 70% of quit attempts. If you are interested in quitting, visit a community pharmacy for further information.