Cigarettes and other tobacco products will have to include graphic photographs of the health consequences of smoking from 2013.
The introduction of such warnings has been promised for over a decade.
All tobacco products placed on the market on or after February 1, 2013 must comply with the new graphic photo warnings regulations. Any tobacco products placed on the market prior to February 1, 2013 can continue to be sold or offered for sale until 1 February 2014.
Health Minister James Reilly announced today that he had has approved and new regulations which will place an obligation on tobacco manufacturers to include graphic photographs on tobacco products packaging depicting the negative health impacts associated with smoking.
Research and experience in other countries has shown that health warnings combined with coloured photographs can be an effective means of discouraging smoking and informing people about the health risks related to smoking, the Minister said.
"We should never lose sight of the health consequences of smoking which remains the greatest single cause of preventable illness and premature death in Ireland, killing over 5,200 people a year." the Minister said.
"Every year, premature deaths caused by tobacco use in Ireland are far greater than the combined death toll from car accidents, fires, heroin, cocaine, murder and suicide."
Dr Reilly said if, by introducing these graphic images on cigarette packs, some people are shocked into considering how smoking is impacting on them and their families, then the warnings will have achieved their objective.