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Ireland: Forest condemns plan to consider "draconian" anti-smoking measures

Thu 30th December, 2021

News that the HSE is to 'consider a complete ban on the sale of tobacco and a sharp reduction in the number of outlets allowed to sell tobacco products ... to help eradicate cigarette smoking in Ireland' has been condemned by smokers' rights campaigners.

According to reports research will also explore banning the sale of tobacco products near schools and universities, and increasing the tax on tobacco by up to 20 per cent a year.

Other measures to be considered include reducing the nicotine content of tobacco products, banning filters and adding health warnings to individual cigarettes.

John Mallon, spokesman for the smokers' group Forest Ireland, said:

"Any form of prohibition would drive consumers underground and into the arms of criminal gangs. Ireland already has a huge problem with illicit trade. This would make it far worse."

He added:

"The Government has no right to intervene to this extent. Tobacco is a legal product and many adults enjoy smoking.

"Future generations of adults should have an equal right to choose to smoke, just as many adults will choose to drink alcohol, and that choice must be respected.

"Governments have a duty to inform consumers about the health risks of smoking or drinking but beyond that it's a matter for the individual.

"Any attempt to impose further restrictions on tobacco will be fiercely resisted."

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