Conflict of interest for ‘tobacco’ and Customs

We, the Irish Cancer Society, have noted the article ‘Cigarette pack codes to tackle illicit trade’ (Irish Examiner, February 4) and the quote from a representative of Customs ‘welcoming’ the tobacco industry-funded Codentify system.

This quote contradicts a statement by the Revenue Commissioners to the Oireachtas. Codentify is a visible code developed and patented by a tobacco company, Philip Morris International. The company says that Codentify is “a unique, secure […] 12-digit code printed directly onto packs and cartons during manufacturing”.

Philip Morris is ‘donating’ money to organisations and agencies, such as Interpol, to promote Codentify. This is a conflict of interest. At a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children on January 23, Gerard Moran, of the Revenue Commissioners, was asked if a system developed by the tobacco industry is compromised. He said: “Public policy on this [smuggling] issue needs to be settled by the various public bodies and Departments concerned. We are not particularly interested, therefore, in engaging with tobacco interests on it.”

Kathleen O’Meara

Head of Advocacy & Communications

Irish Cancer Society

Dublin 4

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