Packaging Expert to Brief Health Committee on Standardised Packaging Bill

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health is currently holding hearings on the legislation that will bring in standard cigarette packaging and larger health warnings on tobacco products.

A spokesman for 7 packaging companies in the UK, Mike Ridgway, is to go before the Committee today, to brief the members on the complexities of packaging and the role they play in protecting against illicit trade.

Ahead of his hearing today Mike Ridgway said “As a professional working with packaging materials, I have expertise in the complex role packaging plays and how it protects the consumer and the legitimate industry from the dangers of counterfeiting.” 

Tobacco packaging is a high precision, manufactured ‘engineering component or product’ made in large volume to exacting standards. Essentially this packaging acts as a barrier to trade in the production of counterfeit goods. Sophisticated packaging is a defence against counterfeit products as it makes it extremely difficult and costly for criminals to copy them. These fake products are typically sold on the black market.  Packaging introduces variations – not only in colour, designs and graphical content- but in enhanced features including embossing, de-bossing, hot-foil stamping, matt/gloss varnish combinations, vignettes. If these elements were removed, it will make way for the illicit trade to flourish.”

“I find it alarming that Minister Reilly is ignoring evidence from Australia where the introduction of plain packaging has proved unsuccessful. In fact, according to a recent report conducted by KPMG, a ‘consistent’ level of smoking with no apparent reduction has taken place in Australia.” He concluded.

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