European court gives the go ahead for plain cigarette packs

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Minister for Children James Reilly has welcomed a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling that clears the way for plain packaging laws for tobacco products in Ireland.

The court has made a preliminary ruling this morning against tobacco giants Philip Morris and British American Tobacco.

They took proceedings to the ECJ over an EU directive which would see health warnings on two thirds of tobacco packaging.

The Children's Minister James Reilly wants to go one step further in Ireland and ban tobacco branding on packets altogether.

He says: "Tobacco companies may have more manoeuvres, but the Irish Government stands ready to meet any challenge on the way to implementing this law." 

In its ruling this morning, the ECJ said the new EU tobacco directive of 2014 is valid. 

Legislation to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products was unanimously passed by both houses of the Oireachtas, without any dissent.

Dr Reilly says more than 5,000 people a year die from smoking-related illness in Ireland.

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