ASH Ireland welcomes European Commission decision not to renew or extend the controversial agreement with tobacco multinational Philip Morris International (PMI) on tackling the illicit tobacco trade.


ASH Ireland welcomes yesterday’s (Wednesday) decision of the European Commission to reject renewal or extension of the PMI Agreement with the EU, beyond its current date of expiry – July 9, 2016.

The decision sets a milestone in the fight against illicit tobacco trade. It facilitates the allocation of resources and efforts for implementing more adequate measures as the set out in the global W.H.O. Protocol on eliminating the illicit trade in tobacco.

The PMI Agreement was signed 12 years ago, after the EU brought legal proceedings against the tobacco company for cigarette smuggling. It was intended to end PMI’s complicity in illicit tobacco trade, and introduced annual payments to the EU and its Member States, as well as fines when genuine PMI products were seized in illicit channels.

It was the first of four similar agreements signed with each of the major tobacco companies. After the Commission released a Technical Assessment on the January 24, 2016, which showed `no direct causality` between the PMI Agreement and decreasing numbers of PMI illicit cigarettes, the European Parliament also voiced its opinion, voting for a resolution against any renewal or extension on the  March 9, 2016. It is now clear to all involved in the fight against smoking that the tobacco industry must have no role in self monitoring an industry, which is essentially about profit and the marketing of a product which kills 50% of its users.

ASH Ireland made representations on this specific matter earlier this year on this matter to all Irish MEPs who supported the termination of the PMI agreement.


ASH Ireland Chairman meets with Health Ministers

Dr Patrick Doorley, Chairman of ASH Ireland met with Minister for Health, Simon Harris and Minister of State Marcella Corcoran Kennedy at Government Buildings yesterday (Thursday) to discuss a range of tobacco related issues.

ASH Ireland looks forward to a productive working relationship with both Ministers into the future.

Below is the Press Release issued by the Department after the meeting:

Press Release issued by Department of Health, June 2, 2016

Minister Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Minister of State for Health Promotion and Minister Simon Harris, Minister for Health, met with representatives of ASH Ireland today.

Minister Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Minister of State for Health Promotion and Minister Simon Harris, Minister for Health, met with representatives of ASH Ireland today.

At the meeting, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to implementing Government Policy on tobacco, Tobacco Free Ireland.

“Given that approximately 5,870 people die annually from tobacco-related diseases in Ireland, we are committed to continuing to reduce the numbers of people smoking in Ireland,” said Minister Corcoran Kennedy.

“Ireland has been a world leader in relation to tobacco control as well as in our support for public educational campaigns such as the HSE’s influential QUIT Campaign. In place since June 2011, the QUIT campaign has prompted over 600,000 quit attempts and provided support to many thousands of quitters. This hugely successful campaign is complementary to the Government’s policy of a Tobacco Free Ireland by 2025, a policy I look forward to further implementing during my time as Minister of State for Health Promotion.”

ASH Ireland and the Ministers discussed a number of issues including the future introduction of standardised packaging for tobacco, the recent introduction of the Tobacco Products Directive in Ireland, advertising and awareness campaigns and the role of the increased price of tobacco in deterring people from smoking.

“I look forward to working closely with ASH Ireland and other NGOs in our national effort to move towards a tobacco free Ireland,” said Minister Corcoran Kennedy.