Photo: Gems Collection /
11 June 2014Trademarks

Irish government votes for plain packaging laws

The Irish government has become the first in the EU to approve draft legislation that would strip branding from cigarette packets.

If enacted, the bill will force cigarette companies to remove trademarks, logos, graphics and colours from their packets. Brand names will be printed in a standard typeface.

Health minister James Reilly, who announced the news, said the move represents a “significant step forward” in Ireland’s tobacco control policy and its goal of becoming a smoke-free country by 2025.

Reilly tried to begin legislating for plain packaging last year but his plan met resistance from the country’s tobacco industry.

The bill aims to make cigarette packets look less attractive to consumers and make health warnings more striking, while reducing the chances of misleading people about the dangers of smoking.

According to consumer health website, Reilly said that around 5,200 Irish people die every year from smoking-related diseases.

“These are all preventable, avoidable deaths,” he told the site. “Given all we know about the dangers of smoking, it is not acceptable to allow the tobacco industry to use deceptive marketing gimmicks to lure our children into this deadly addiction and to deceive current smokers about the impact of their addiction.”

But a spokesman for British American Tobacco, which owns cigarette brands including Benson & Hedges and Dunhill, told the BBC that the Irish cabinet’s decision was disappointing.

“There is no credible evidence that plain packaging will work in terms of stopping children taking up smoking or encouraging current smokers to quit.

“Instead, minister Reilly’s plain packaging bill will simply play into the hands of the criminals who are ready and waiting to supply people, regardless of their age, with cheap tobacco products,” the spokesman said.

Australia is the only country in the world to have implemented plain packaging legislation, although a bill in neighbouring New Zealand has had one reading before parliament. There are no such laws in the EU, but a revised Tobacco Products Directive wants mandatory picture and text health warnings to cover large portions of packets in the future.

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at