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Plain packaging of cigarettes treats smokers as if they are stupid

Your leading article, ‘A victory for citizens over big business — the battle against tobacco’ (Irish Examiner, December 27), should have read ‘A victory for big government over the consumer’.

You failed to remind readers that, for several years now, at point-of-sale, all tobacco products have been hidden from the customer and the desired brand has to be asked for by name. Even so, a million of us still buy tobacco products, whilst paying the highest prices in the EU. Despite this, you imply that it’s the packaging that attracts and entices people to smoke, which is ludicrous.

You then assert that lives will be saved as a result of ‘plain’ packaging. Standardised packaging has never been about health, because there is no evidence that it reduces smoking rates. Instead, it’s just another measure to denormalise legitimate consumption of a legal product.

Worse, it infantilises all consumers, smokers and non-smokers, because it assumes we’re too stupid to make our own choices without excessive state intervention.

Whatever happened to consumer rights, or has the Irish Examiner abandoned them in favour of big government and the nanny state?

John Mallon

Forest Éireann

PO Box 322,

North City Delivery Service Unit,

Churchfield,

Cork


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