Tobacco companies may soon be forced to use plain packaging when selling cigarettes in the Republic of Ireland.
The Irish government is planning new regulations on tobacco packaging, aimed at reducing the level of smoking.
Health Minister James Reilly brought the matter before the Irish cabinet on Tuesday.
His cabinet colleagues gave the go-ahead for the drafting of legislation and Mr Reilly said he hoped the new law would be in force by early next year.
The aim is to make tobacco packets look less attractive to consumers and to make health warnings more prominent.
In 2012, Australia was the first country in the world to introduce plain pack cigarettes.
All tobacco company logos and colour themes were banned.
Instead, the cartons had to be produced in one uniform colour, with graphic anti-smoking photographs and messages.
However, tobacco companies have argued against the move, citing that plain packs could easily be copied by illegal manufacturers.
They have claimed it could lead to an increase in smuggling.
Last year, the UK government ran a public consultation on the introduction of mandatory, standardised packaging.