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February 5th, 2015:

Northern Ireland backs plain tobacco packet plan

02 February 2015

Northern Ireland’s health minister has backed plans to introduce standardised cigarette packaging.

Jim Wells said the region would be included in the UK Government’s proposals for plain tobacco product packets, which is set to be voted on by MPs in Westminster before the General Election.

Wales has already backed the potential UK-wide law change, with Scottish ministers also signalling their support for the measure.

If backed by MPs, plain packaging could be introduced by May 2016.

Some Conservative MPs have voiced opposition to the plans.

Announcing that he was giving consent for Northern Ireland to be included in the proposed legislation, Mr Wells said: “Smoking remains the single greatest cause of preventable illness and premature death in Northern Ireland. Half of all smokers will be killed by their use of tobacco products.

“Branding on cigarette packets provides one of the last opportunities for tobacco companies to promote their products. Evidence shows that young people are more receptive to this type of advertising than adults. I believe that standardised packaging has the potential to contribute to a further reduction in child and adult smoking prevalence and look forward to this measure being introduced in Northern Ireland.”

Standardised packaging will require all cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco for retail sale to meet certain conditions including:

:: Standard colour (dull brown on the outside and white on the inside)

:: All text on the packaging, including brand name and variant, to be in a standard typeface

:: No branding, advertising or promotion on the pack (except the use of the brand name)

All tobacco products will continue to carry health warnings.

[AUS] Liberals gain $70,000 from tobacco firms

February 02, 2015

THE Liberal Party received $70,000 in donations from tobacco firm Philip Morris in the past financial year, with one contribution dated after a ban was imposed.

PRIOR to the September 2013 federal election the Liberal-National coalition faced pressure from Labor and the Greens to rule out accepting money from cigarette makers.

The then opposition leader Tony Abbott, a former health minister, declared on August 21 of that year tobacco industry funding was no longer welcome in his party.

Until that point, the Liberals had received more than $2.1 million over a decade from the two major tobacco companies.

But the Australian Electoral Commission, which on Monday published released the 2013/14 list of donations to political parties, revealed the Victorian branch of the Liberal Party accepted a $5000 donation from Philip Morris on August 23.

The donation was made via a Liberal fundraising body known as the Menzies 200 Club.

The Nationals accepted donations of $3300 and $20,000 from Philip Morris in February 2014.

The tobacco firm also turned its attention to the Liberal Democrats, providing $20,000 in September 2013 and $15,000 in March 2014.

Labor stopped receiving tobacco firm donations 11 years ago while the Greens have never accepted them.

Comment is being sought from the prime minister’s office.


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