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Plain packs will help smokers quit

WE'VE made good progress in stubbing out our smoking habit. The number of smokers here has now fallen to under 20pc, from 31pc in the late 1990s.

The smoking ban, which came into place ten years ago this month, helped many quit.

The Government hopes to maintain this momentum and reduce the numbers smoking to 5pc over the next decade. Introducing plain packaging is key to this.

All this is not good news for the companies who manufacture and sell cigarettes. And as the Herald today reveals they haven't been slow in making their feelings known.

One company, Japan Tobacco International, contacted the Taoiseach, the Tanaiste, and four other ministers last year, lobbying against plain packaging.

But such commercial concerns fade in comparison to the health effects of smoking, which claims 5,200 lives here every year.

Now's the time to quit.