We at the D4 Clinic support the Minister for Health Dr James Reilly TD and we join him in strongly welcoming the publication of a new video by the Irish Cancer Society which clearly demonstrates the effect of tobacco packaging on young children.
In the video a group of children is invited to give their views on two different types of packaging: – the current packs used by the tobacco industry and, secondly Standardised Packaging with significantly increased health warnings.
Currently tobacco companies are entitled to have cigarette packets of different shapes and sizes, with colourful branding, tailored to be attractive to groups including young prospective smokers. In the video the children can be seen to describe the attractiveness of the packs.
But when the children are presented with the cigarettes in standardised packaging, which carry massive health warnings and greatly reduce the potential for the tobacco companies to press their brand, the children declare themselves disgusted by the packaging. The children are seen questioning why it is that people begin to smoke at all.
It is a dramatic demonstration of precisely what the Irish Government hopes to achieve. Minister Reilly has secured the agreement of the Cabinet to introduce standardised packaging for tobacco products in Ireland. Minister Reilly is clear that the intention of introducing standardised packaging is to make young people think twice before they start to smoke. International evidence shows that most people who start to smoke do so under the age of 18 years.
Dr Reilly said “If we can put young people off smoking, even for a couple of years, the evidence suggests that they may not develop this killer addiction at all and the resulting difficulty to stop smoking. This video is fascinating in that it shows clearly the degree to which the children are repelled by standardised packaging and more importantly express negative views about the smoking habit. I would encourage as many people as possible to watch this video. I will shortly go to Cabinet with the heads of legislation to introduce standardised packaging in Ireland and I look forward to the day when Irish children will refuse to take up a habit which kills one in two smokers.”