Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Questions (146)

Damien English


146. Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the recently published Retail Ireland submission to the Department of Health’s June 2012 consultation on the Your Health is Your Wealth public health framework which warns that ever higher taxation and proposals to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products would be a further boon to the illegitimate supply channel; if he agrees with the Retail Ireland position; if he has communicated any such concerns to the Department of Health; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11200/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The requirements in relation to cigarette packaging are a matter for my colleague the Minister for Health, who has indicated that he is supportive of any international developments in relation to plain or standardised packaging for cigarettes. I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that their view at this stage is that the introduction of plain or standardised packaging would be unlikely to have a significant impact on their action programmes for combating the illicit trade in cigarettes. All packs of cigarettes that are offered for sale in the State are required to carry a tax stamp containing a range of sophisticated security features designed to prevent counterfeiting; a new and more secure stamp was introduced last year. An examination of whether a pack of cigarettes carries a genuine tax stamp will, irrespective of the type of packaging, continue to be a key means for Revenue officials to distinguish between legal and illegal products.