Plain cigarette packs review ends

Cigarettes on display The government wants smokers to give up their habit

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A UK-wide consultation on government plans to introduce mandatory plain packaging for tobacco will close later.

It was extended by a month to allow more people to respond after strong public interest in the issue.

The proposal could mean information about individual brands being removed from cigarette packets, with just the name and warnings visible.

Plain packaging is seen by campaigners as the next step in discouraging young people from taking up smoking.

It could mean every sign of individual brands, from their logo, colour or typeface, being replaced by standard packaging simply carrying warnings and the name of the cigarettes.

Packets are likely to be a dark olive green.

When he launched the consultation four months ago, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said he wanted tobacco companies to have "no business" in the UK.


It comes after a ban on tobacco displays in large shops started earlier this year. Smaller shops will have to follow suit by 2015.

Australia is currently the only country which has agreed to plain packaging, although the policy has been challenged in the courts by manufacturers.

Start Quote

Plain, standardised packaging of its lethal products frightens Big Tobacco silly because it threatens its profits”

End Quote Deborah Arnott Ash

Research published there has suggested that cigarette packets have increasingly become an important marketing tool as restrictions on advertising and sponsorship have been brought in.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of campaign group Ash, said: "Plain, standardised packaging of its lethal products frightens Big Tobacco silly because it threatens its profits.

"That's why the industry has devoted millions of pounds to put pressure on politicians and prevent the government from going ahead with this measure."

But Simon Clark, director of Forest, a lobby group funded by the tobacco industry, said: "There is no evidence that standardised packaging will have any health benefits.

"Advocates base their arguments not on facts but on speculation."

The government said it would make a decision when the responses to the consultation had been considered.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 617.

    its so unfair tobbaco is getting the short end and alcohol is still on cheap deals in suprmarkets etc, put drinks behind a cover and kill cheap deals on it as well it might help reduce even more deaths etc.
    both smoking and drinking should be treated the same. this system is very one sided and shows the drink loby in parliment have more power than tobbaco but both need sorting fairly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 614.

    How does the government plan on replacing the tax generated by smokers? If the figures that other commentators have quoted are true then there will be a drop in the governments spending power that will not be offset by reductions in health care costs. This policy will likely lead to higher taxation without the implied improvements in health or health care provision.

  • rate this

    Comment number 613.

    If tobacco companies argue that uniform, plain packaging will not affect sales, why are they against it? After all, standardised, simplified packaging will cost them less to produce and thus increase their margins. The fact is that as the phenomenal success of products from iPhones to 'designer' perfumes indicates - packaging matters in driving both sales and customer loyalty.

  • rate this

    Comment number 528.

    No-one's saying plain packaging will make smokers give up. Nor are they saying it will stop *every* potential smoker from taking it up. It's just another step towards changing social norms concerning smoking, and reducing its appeal among those who are young and impressionable. If plain packaging gives young people one less reason to start smoking, I'm all for it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 462.

    I didn't start smoking because i thought the boxes looked pretty and i'm not going to stop because the boxes are boring! This is as stupid as the 'out of sight out of mind' idea that typifies the British mentallity. If people really think it's the packaging or advertising that starts people smoking or think this is going to solve anything then i have a bag of magic beans to sell you......


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