No advertising for cigarettes: Ireland aims to turn smoke-free

By Enozia Vakil , May 29, 2013 09:30 AM EDT

After Australia, Ireland has now taken up the initiative to discourage smoking and tobacco consumption, and has introduced plain packages for cigarettes. Before the event of the World Tobacco Day, Health minister James Reilly also approved the plan to remove mobile advertising for tobacco firms, all set to slash down the numbers turning to smoking.

"Smoking places an enormous burden of illness and mortality on our society, with over 5,200 people dying every year from tobacco-related diseases," he said. "One in two of all smokers will die from their addiction."

Reilly also admits that he was once a big victim of the ill-effects of smoking, and his father and brother both fell prey to a smoking-related illness.

This initiative may help big cigarette industries from using special marketing techniques to promote their products like attractive packages, sizes and styles to attract the young generation, particularly girls.

The introduction of the standard, white plain packaging may help reduce the numbers and help discourage cigarette smoking and tobacco consumption at least in the youth.

With over one million smokers in Ireland alone, this initiative was much needed, and is expected to make a visible difference

"Ireland is known as a smugglers' paradise due to our high levels of illicit trade. We expect the situation to worsen considerably as a result of this move, placing further pressures on retailers and government tax revenues," John Player managing director Andrew Meagher said.

Meagher also claims after the smoking ban in 2004, the ban on the sale of ten cigarette packets in the year 2007 and the 2009 ban on the display of cigarettes have done nothing to impact the sales of the cigarettes.

However, Dr. Fenton Howell, Faculty of Public Health Medicine, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, claimed that "Plain packaging will stop the tobacco industry from using the pack as a marketing tool to mislead another generation of young people into thinking that smoking is cool and fashionable, when in reality cigarettes makes addicts of our children and condemns them to a life of unnecessary illness and death 10-15 years ahead of time."

How this initiative to discourage cigarette smoking will help, only time will tell.

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