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Plans for plain cigarette packages could be up in smoke already

IRELAND'S proposal for plain packaging on cigarettes has irked World Trade Organisation members.

The proposal, backed by Health Minister James Reilly, was top of the agenda of the Technical Barriers to Trade Committee meeting.

The WTO has 159 member countries and all are entitled to raise issues at the TBT committee.

Malawi and the Dominican Republic raised the issue and were supported by Cuba, Guatemala, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Honduras. Australia, New Zealand and Norway supported Ireland's proposal.

A spokesman for the Minister for Health said: "Dr Reilly understood from the outset that this measure would be bitterly opposed by the tobacco industry. He's prepared for the long haul and is determined to get plain packaging implemented."