News & Media

Howlin reiterates opposition to tobacco

10 February 2019

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

In response to the report in today's Sunday Business Post, Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin wishes to reiterate his strong opposition to tobacco and the cigarette industry, and the damage it wrecks on millions of lives.

Deputy Howlin said:

”I've opposed tobacco since my time as a Minister in the Department of Health. I know all too well the damage and destruction it has caused to millions of lives.

"Unfortunately, the headline is deeply misleading in this regard. Labour fully supports the strong regulation of tobacco. The central point I made was that strong and effective regulation may require officials to meet with the industries they are regulating, just as Revenue officials meet them to collect excise and tobacco duty. For example, new EU rules on labelling tobacco shipments down to pallet level in factories and warehouses may require officials to meet with industrialists to ensure this regulation is correctly applied and enforced. That is very different from Ministers meeting with tobacco lobbyists.

”I am an advocate for openness and transparency in our democracy. The lobbying law I introduced ensures that any and all meetings must be recorded and reported. That was the basis of my communication, as officials meeting tobacco companies, even to enforce regulation, should ensure that these meetings are registered on the lobbyist register.

"I want to reassure all health advocates and charities working to protect and save lives from smoking and cancer, that the Labour party will continue to champion this issue and advocate for the tightest possible regulation of this damaging industry.”