Minister’s go ahead on plain packs
Local cancer charity Cancer Focus Northern Ireland is delighted by the Health Minister’s announcement to support the introduction of standardised cigarette packaging in Northern Ireland.
Today the Health Minister Jim Wells confirmed that Northern Ireland will be included in UK-wide regulations on standardised packaging to be laid within the current Parliament. This follows the UK Government’s earlier announcement to proceed with plans to introduce standardised packaging before the end of this Parliament.
The move to prevent cigarettes being sold in glamorous, branded packaging will help protect the next generation of children and young people from starting to smoke, and will encourage adult smokers to quit. Two thirds of current smokers started when they were children, and half of all lifetime smokers will die from a smoking related disease1.
Gerry McElwee, Head of Cancer Prevention for Cancer Focus NI, said: “This is very encouraging news. Every day hundreds of children start to smoke. The introduction of standardised ‘plain’ packs across the UK and Ireland will mean that future generations will not be seduced by tobacco industry marketing”.
“This move has the potential to save thousands of lives. There are 2,300 deaths caused by tobacco in Northern Ireland each year with thousands of others affected by cancer, respiratory and other smoking related illnesses.
“Cancer Focus NI has been actively involved in the campaign to introduce standardised packs here. We recently urged all our MPs to support the move at Westminster, and called on the Executive to enable implementation in Northern Ireland. We’re delighted at the support shown by our local politicians in ensuring that we lead the way in Europe on this important issue.”