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97% of stores complying with the legislation regarding the display of cigarettes for sale in store.

Public Support for the new measures increases.

New research published today by the Office of Tobacco Control (OTC) shows that 97% of stores are complying with legislation regarding display of cigarettes in store. The legislation was commenced on 1st July 2009.

Ireland is the first country in the EU to introduce a complete ban on retail tobacco advertising and display.

The OTC commissioned TNSmrbi to carry out an audit in August 2009 of the removal of point of sale tobacco advertisements and displays. The audit found that:

  • 97% of stores were found to be storing cigarettes out of sight in compliance with the legislation.

  • 98% of stores are compliant with the new legislation regarding in store cigarette advertising.

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

"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.

In addition to the TNSmrbi compliance audit, the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, at the University of Nottingham, was commissioned by the OTC, Cancer Research UK and the Irish Cancer Society to carry out an evaluation of the Irish Point of Sale Advertising and Display ban.

Early findings from the evaluation include:

  • In a survey of around 1000 people aged 15 and over support grew for the new measures from 56% backing the ban in April to 68% by September.

  • 180 13 – 15 year olds were also interviewed in June and again in August. Before the ban 81% could recall seeing any cigarette or tobacco packs in shops in the last month. After the ban this dropped to less than a quarter.

  • A third of the teenagers also thought they or their friends could successfully buy cigarettes in June. After the ban only a quarter thought they could get away with it.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Ronan Cavanagh Montague Communications: 01 830 3116 / 086 317 9731.

Note to Editor:

Details of legislation on tobacco advertising and display from 1st July 2009

  1. No advertising or display of tobacco products will be permitted in a retail premises that sells tobacco products;
  2. 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;
  3. 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;
  4. 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;
  5. Self-service vending machines are prohibited except in licensed premises and registered clubs and must be operated in accordance with Regulations;
  6. All retailers of tobacco products must register with the Office of Tobacco Control (OTC).
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