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Office of Tobacco Control welcomes removal of all tobacco advertising from retail premises

- Ireland is first EU country to introduce groundbreaking measure

The Office of Tobacco Control (OTC) today (July 1, 2009) welcomed the commencement by the Department of Health and Children of further provisions of the Public Health (Tobacco) Acts, 2002 and 2004.

The key provisions now commenced are:

- No advertising or display of tobacco products is permitted in a retail premises that sells tobacco products;
- Retailers must ensure that their tobacco products are stored out of view, within a closed container or dispenser only accessible by the retailer and retail staff;
- The retailer may use a pictorial list (in accordance with Regulations) to inform a member of the public aged 18 years and older who intends to purchase a tobacco product as to the products that are available;
- Retailers must display a sign at their premises informing the public that tobacco products may be sold at those premises to persons aged 18 years and over;
- Self-service vending machines are prohibited except in licensed premises and registered clubs and must be operated in accordance with Regulations;
- All retailers of tobacco products must register with the Office of Tobacco Control.

Mr. Éamonn Rossi, Chief Executive of the OTC welcomed the commencement of the provisions and highlighted the significance of the newly introduced measures in protecting young people.

“These provisions have child protection at their core. We know the tobacco industry requires hundreds of young Irish people to start smoking each week simply to maintain its customer base. For every smoker who dies or quits, the industry needs a ‘replacement smoker’, a child who will become addicted and replenish the base of long-term smokers. We must break that cycle and in so doing significantly reduce the 6,500 people dying each year from tobacco use in this country.”

Mr Rossi explained that the removal of point-of-sale promotion was a natural progression following bans on tobacco advertising in mainstream media and on tobacco sponsorship.

“Research clearly shows that tobacco advertising influences young people. While other outlets for tobacco advertising have long since been removed, in-store advertising and extensive product displays helped tobacco to appear as a familiar, acceptable and normal retail product. This situation contributes to the perception common among youth that ‘everyone’ smokes. As a result, research shows that children are more likely to start smoking themselves."

According to the OTC's Chairperson, Ms Norma Cronin, there is compelling evidence from research that children are aware of and are influenced by tobacco advertising.

“Research published by the OTC found that 80% of child smokers in Ireland smoke just two brands. These two brands happen to be the two most heavily marketed through the use of in-store displays.”

Ms Cronin added that today’s commencement of these new public health measures places Ireland again at the fore of international tobacco control.

“Ireland led the way as the first country in the world to introduce smoke-free workplaces. As the first country in the EU and only the third country worldwide to introduce a complete ban on retail tobacco advertising and display, Ireland is again pioneering the legislative response to the global tobacco epidemic.”

In conclusion, Éamonn Rossi reminded retailers that the National Register of Tobacco Retailers is now accepting applications.

“As a result of the new measures commenced today, all those who sell or intend to sell tobacco products by retail, whether over the counter or from a self-service vending machine, must register with the OTC.”

- Retailers selling tobacco products before 1 July 2009 must register between 1 July and 1 October.
- Those who intend to commence the business of selling tobacco products anytime after 1 July 2009 must register first with the OTC.
- Registration can be completed online or via a printed application form.
- Each applicant must pay an application fee of €50.
- Further details are available on the website www.tobaccoregister.ie

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