The Irish Cancer Society has saids the Government must resist third-party lobbying on the introduction of standardized plain packaging of tobacco products.
The Society claims the tobacco industry is orchestrating the campaign against the introduction of plain packaging in Ireland.
The names and associations revealed in letters published in the Irish Examiner newspaper have a history of opposing tobacco control measures," according to Kathleen O'Meara, Head of Advocacy & Communications with the Cancer Society.
"They are using recycled and misleading arguments of dire consequences that have been used to oppose public health measures for the past 20 years. All of the claims about the illicit trade, job losses and slowing Ireland's recovery are totally without foundation and signal desperation on the part of Big Tobacco."
"The lobbying of MEPs in Brussels by Big Tobacco is huge business," said Ms O'Meara.
"Philip Morris alone spent €1.6 million in 12 months fighting new tobacco laws and employed 161 people to aggressively lobby representatives. The letter from 27 MEPs to the Taoiseach contains the signatures of ten MEPs who defied the EPP (European People's Party) group last February and voted against new rules on tobacco that increased health warnings on packs and banned flavored cigarettes."
The Cancer Society says the tobacco industry in Ireland needs 50 new smokers every day to replace those dying or giving up.
"It is no wonder they are fighting plain packaging with millions of euro. Ultimately, this measure is designed to protect young people from the marketing tactics of Big Tobacco, and that is why the government must resist this powerful lobby."
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