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Branding block will discourage young people

TWENTY-FOUR people were prosecuted last year for breaching regulations in relation to the sale of tobacco products to under-18s.

One of the aims of the Department of Health's proposed legislation to standardise packaging on cigarettes is to discourage young people from taking up smoking.

Research shows they tend to find these packs less appealing than older people.

Ireland is aiming to be tobacco free – with a prevalence rate of less than 5pc – by 2025.

Standardised packaging will remove one of the last remaining methods of tobacco advertising.

It means that all forms of branding would be removed, except for the tax stamp, other legal requirements and brand name and variant, which would be presented in a uniform typeface.

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children is set to report on its deliberations on the matter to Health Minister James Reilly.

"The minister is currently awaiting the committee's report," a Department of Health spokesperson said.