Retailers highlight Australian measures on plain tobacco packaging

A retailers’ group has warned that the Government plan to introduce plain tobacco packaging will fail unless measures introduced in Australia are included.

The Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association said that significant measures were introduced by Australia to complement their legislation on tobacco packaging.

CSNA chief executive Vincent Jennings said the introduction of plain packaging in Ireland should be deferred until similar measures were introduced in Ireland.

Mr Jennings told a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children that he was also concerned that the regulatory impact of the Irish proposal had not been assessed.

The Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Bill will introduce standardisedpackaging on all tobacco products.

The bill will also determine the size and position of health warnings displayed on cigarette packets.

Measures introduced by the Australian government included a 25% annual increase in excise duties over a four-year period.

Also, a total of A$85m (€56.3m) was allocated to enforce Australian tobacco policy, with A$28m spent on high-risk and disadvantaged groups.

Mr Jennings said that the Australian government also reduced the amount of duty-free cigarettes allowed from 250 to 50, a move that will also provide A$600m to its exchequer over four years.

With the enactment of legislation in 2011, Australia became the first country in the world to require tobacco products to be sold in plain packaging.

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