All tobacco products, whether legally produced or illicit are injurious to health and are therefore a threat to public health. I am concerned about the level of smoking in Ireland and it remains my objective that Ireland moves towards being a tobacco free society. The tobacco control measures which have already been introduced and future planned measures will, in my view, make a significant contribution to the reduction in the numbers of people smoking in Ireland, in particular the numbers of children and young people who start to smoke.
In parallel with these tobacco control measures the Revenue Commissioners are responsible for tackling the illicit trade in cigarettes and tobacco products. They attach a high priority to tackling this trade because of the threat that it poses to society. Revenue’s “Strategy on Combating the Illicit Tobacco Trade (2011-2013)” includes a range of measures designed to complement each other in targeting the supply and demand sides of the market for illicit cigarettes and other tobacco products. My Department and the HSE strongly support this Strategy. I understand from the Revenue Commissioners that the intention is to put a further strategy in place, when the current one comes to an end, to act as the strategic focus for the ongoing extensive work against the smuggling and sale of illicit products.