The five-year anniversary of the smoking ban passed last weekend, as compliance with the ban reached its highest level yet in 2008. Now the Office of Tobacco Control (OTC) will focus its efforts on preventing young people from taking up smoking.
Point-of-sale advertising of tobacco products in retail premises is due to be removed from July 1, 2009.
This will include a ban on branding backdrops in shops and change mats on counters; the display of tobacco products in retail premises; the introduction of a closed-container provision; tighter controls on the location and operation of tobacco-vending machines; and the introduction of a register of retail outlets who are licensed to sell tobacco.
Mary Cunningham, Director of the National Youth Council of Ireland, said: “More than three-quarters of all smokers in Ireland start to smoke before they reach the age of 18. It’s worth noting that 80 per cent of child smokers in Ireland smoke just two brands — the brands which happen to be the two most heavily marketed through the use of in-store displays.”
The smoke-free workplace legislation was introduced on March 29, 2004. Since then, compliance has never fallen below 94 per cent. Compliance rose to 97 per cent in 2008, its highest level.