Kieran McCarthy MLA said: “There is no reason why Northern Ireland should not be included in this new UK law on plain packaging.
“It is critical that we do not fall behind the rest of the UK in efforts to deter people from taking up smoking. I welcome this deal and hope that the Executive will agree to opt into this law.
“During a Health Committee meeting on this issue, I said that by agreeing to this new law, we would be sending out an important message that we are serious about reducing the level of smoking.
“It is shocking that so many people are dying from smoking related illnesses each year. It is not only devastating for families but it is also putting a massive strain on our health system.”