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 452.

    e-cigs are the way to go - bystander friendly, no smoke, handy boxes that charge the cig and house extra cartridges - packaging, smoke, smell or any other problems with smokers/smoking are (should be) a thing of the past.

    (SO19 and mobilisations against potential terrorism notwithstanding)

  • rate this

    Comment number 451.

    I am an ex smoker, and i can honestly say that what was on the packaging made no difference to me what so ever. What interests me though is the fact that, if every one was to stop smoking, where would the government get all their lost revenue from, that they currently get from the tax on cigarettes? that's right all the none smokers (as well as the smokers) will suddenly have to pay more tax!

  • rate this

    Comment number 450.

    Well another expansion of stupid nannying. When I was a kid I loved F1, yet despite the fact you had JPS, Marlborough, Gitanes belting round I started smoking B& H, which at the time did not sponsor F1. Why, not because of the sponsorship, not because of the packet, but because of the taste!

  • rate this

    Comment number 449.

    I don't see the problem here. Surely smokers know what cigarettes they 'like' so packaging is irrelevant to them. Smokers of course have the freedom to continue this habit, but surely even they would agree that anything that can discourage youngsters from taking up the habit has got to be a good thing?

  • rate this

    Comment number 448.

    Please stop with the car comments. Smoking casues 85% of lung cancer in the UK compared with 5 - 7% in Europe -

  • rate this

    Comment number 447.

    435.Gatesheadsteve3 "Which it will do!"
    Show me your EVIDENCE. Oh, but you don't need any, your entire justification rests on righteous indignation that someone might have the audacity to do something of which you disapprove. Smoking, drinking and 'obesity' ARE all linked, by the involvement of an entire industry of people fixated on restricting and stigmatising the legitimate choices of others.

  • rate this

    Comment number 446.

    @ 431.Alex

    Oh come along, what a ridiculous comment. 'Doing one thing is dangerous to others so doing another dangerous thing is fine.' The logic behind that is flawed to begin with, but look into the statistics on how many people are killed/made ill by passive smoking vs. all the things you just mentioned.

    Do think about that next time you light up in a public place.

  • rate this

    Comment number 445.

    "How about we take all the tax income from tobbacco sales give it BUPA and treat all smokers privately?
    That way they wont be a DRAIN/BURDEN on the NHS..
    Smoking health costs problem solved !!!"

    There is no "smoking health costs problem"! There would be, a huge one, if all smokers quit tomorrow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 444.

    Plain packets will make it so much easier for the makers of fake cigarettes. this will lead to less tax revinue and also cigarettes on the market which are far more dangerous thatn the legal brands!

  • rate this

    Comment number 443.

    420. Brian

    'slow and painful death.'

    yes smoking causes that. As do high fat foods, stress oh and putting up with self righteous do gooders who feel a need to dictate to everyone else! Unless you hadn't noticed we are all dying from the minute we are born, and I intend to go having lived my life my way thank you very much!

  • rate this

    Comment number 442.

    I will smoke as long as people drive cars.....I breathe in their pollution...they can breathe in mine....fair enough

  • rate this

    Comment number 441.

    Smokers want freedom to do what they want. I want the freedom not to smell them, where they have been, or passively inhale their smoke. "

    And I want the freedom not to smell the vile stench of alcohol, or step over their vomit or deal with consequences of alcohol induced violence/accidents. So alcohol gets banned too, yes?

    Then there's exhaust fumes...

  • rate this

    Comment number 440.

    Smoking is a nasty and uncool habit - I think the government should look into alcohol and junk food in the same light. If you are a smoker please stay at home because you really smell.

  • rate this

    Comment number 439.

    All this talk of 'Big Tobacco' - sounds great, where can I buy some of this?

  • rate this

    Comment number 438.

    I think people need to look at the 1920's America prohabition to learn why the government hasn't banned cigarettes.

    What they should do is ease people out of it, give smokers a card or something and make it impossible to get some without it,, this way when the current smoking generation dies there will be only a few current smokers, and they would have done it illegally anyway.

  • rate this

    Comment number 437.

    Why smoke when you can masturbate?"

    yeah, but you cant do it outside. I mean, people are reading 50 shades in public but 'other reading materials' are generally frowned upon
    I like the idea that i'd get a few minutes 'break' every day, but i dread to think of the shelter we'd have to use at our places of work...

  • rate this

    Comment number 436.

    Where is the evidence that plain packaging will reduce people isn't any, just speculation from the likes of ASH that it might work. Debs Arnott of ASH talks about the power of Big Tobacco. I would suggest people become worried about the influence of the likes of Arnott on government policies - ASH is a government funded "health" charity promoting government policies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 435.

    A large amount of posters here are getting plain packaging confused (or purposefully trying to change the issue) with smoking in public places (to prevent other people breathing carcinogens) or alcohol and obesity (entirely different issues). The purpose of plain packaging is to prevent young people from starting by making it less appealing. Which it will do!

  • rate this

    Comment number 434.

    21.jonathanbw "a taxpayer who opposes further restrictions on why does my money fund a lobby group whose aims I oppose?"
    Agreed; in my case, the same applies to anti-'obesity' groups such as Weight Concern, National Obesity Forum etc, all of which the Govt pay to lobby themselves. Even BBC openly supports health nannying. Our democracy is a sham and we need a libertarian alternative.

  • rate this

    Comment number 433.

    @419.Dr Dinosaur

    So let's say I enjoyed shovelling asbestos down my gullet when walking down the road, leaving big clouds of it billowing behind me that other people then breathed in.

    Sure, I'd know I may have been giving myself asbestosis but in 30-40 years time people who were around me at the time might develop it to.

    You'd be fine with that since it's 'my choice' ?


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