The big guns are lining up on Ireland.
Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain have all lodged objections to Ireland’s proposed cigarette “plain packaging” laws.
The tobacco companies are priming their legal teams to bring Ireland to court if the laws are enacted.
So let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of the plain packaging argument -
There is zero proof that plain packaging will have any effect. The only studies done here basically just asked children if they liked pretty colours, which is worse than meaningless. In Australia, where they have had “plain packs” for some time, the only people to benefit are the back street traders. Smoking rates remained virtually unaffected.
We are off the Christmas Card list of a fair chunk of the EU.
If the tobacco companies take the case to court [and they have every indication of doing so] then the cost to the Irish taxpayer [smokers and non-smokers] will be enormous. If the companies win, then the likelihood is that the taxpayer will have to foot the bill not only for the court but also pay billions in compensation.
Confidence in Ireland as a trading base will be severely corroded, not just in the tobacco industry but also in the confectionery, food and drink industries who also potentially could lose their branding rights.
There will be severe adverse effects on the retail industry.
It will satisfy the wet dreams of a tiny handful of fascist zealots who will stop at nothing in their hatred for smokers and tobacco.
And that’s all. This proposal will not have any effect on smoking rates amongst adults or children, but it will cost us dearly. It is just part of a religious crusade based on blind hatred and zero logic.
It is time to put a halt to this insanity.