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Ireland smokes big tobacco with plain packaging

Ireland has passed a law banning branding on tobacco packaging, making it the second country in the world after Australia to introduce plain packaging legislation.

The law must now be signed by the country’s President and is expected to take effect in 2017, reports Kadhim Shubber.

The move comes as the UK prepares for a vote on plain packaging regulations this month, with the measures expected to be introduced as early as May 2016.

James Reilly, Ireland’s Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, who spearheaded the legislation, said:

Today is a very good day for the future health of our children. The interests of public health will be served when children decide never to take up smoking in the first place and if smokers are persuaded to quit.

Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Tobacco have threatened legal action against Ireland over the measures.

A furious row has erupted in Ireland over the role of legal firms and consultants that do work for tobacco companies, with Mr Reilly suggesting they should be barred from government contracts.

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