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 472.

    @456 'kevthebrit'
    Skull and cross bones and the word death on the packet you say?

    Well, that certainly sounds like eminently attractive artwork to me. No doubt, someone, somewhere will be taking your idea and will be printing it on a cigarette case somewhere, in some factory in China as we speak. I hope a UK manufacturer gets there first.

    Damn you 468 'FatPeace - you beat me to it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 471.

    @380 "It is not the job of government to interfere in people's pursuit of legal activities."

    But I'd say it is definitely its job to interfere in people's pursuit of harmful activities, especially where they're latched onto by naive teenagers. Government is doing its job - these things don't undermine your own responsibilities for your life (to you, 381), they make it a nicer world to live in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 470.


    I was being ironic. Many criticise others and yet have as bad habits themselves. As a non drinker I can assure you that alcohol stinks, really stinks, to a non-drinker (even vodka), just as much as smoke (ex smoker too). Banning anything won't work - the Misuse Of Drugs Act 1963 *created* a whole crime industry, it didn't stop it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 469.

    Charlie - By all means live your life to the full but when it comes to Wheezing and coughing your way to hospital (if you make it that far) don't say you weren't warned of the dangers. Especially when your carrying around an oxygen tank as your lungs won't function on their own.

  • rate this

    Comment number 468.

    456.kevthebrit "packs should ALL have the skull and cross bones and the word death on them!"
    Someone beat you to it:, and very popular they were too with my group of 14 year-old friends. I agree with Buster_5265 @462 that this typifies a very British approach to making things taboo; they'll be covering up table legs and women's ankles again soon too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 467.

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

    that should be 'Smoking casues 85% of lung cancer in the UK compared with 5 - 7% in European non or ex smokers'

    Neither is correct - the 5-7% in Europe is due to pollution and presumably includes the UK

  • rate this

    Comment number 466.

    Fat sweaty people stink too, can they stay at home aswell? Or are you just being selective?

    Diesel exhaust has now been proven to cause lung cancer, so maybe it isnt the fags after all?

  • rate this

    Comment number 465.

    @ 445.Chris mather

    Incorrect. Smoking is the direct cause of the biggest cost to the NHS (much more than the tax revenue taken from selling fags), followed by Obesity.

    The difference is, when someone makes themself fat they don't generally make the 10 people standing around them fat too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 464.

    458.Ex Tory Voter

    On that basis, one must assume that something else is causing the 93-95% of lung cancers in Europe not caused by smoking.

    Given that i don't think European cigs are very much differrent to UK ones, there must be something particularly nasty in Europe!

  • rate this

    Comment number 463.

    "Smoking casues 85% of lung cancer in the UK"

    Does it? Or are 85% of people with lung cancer smokers (does the NHS merely tick boxes on forms)? The two things are very different, and your statement cannot be inferred from simple statistics.

  • 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......

  • rate this

    Comment number 461.

    Lets all buy a whole bunch of plain white boxes label the with black print accordingly then go down to the local Tesco's purchase a carton and keep the receipt. Return back 15 minutes later and return the said carton (This time your fakes) and get your money back. I see an opportunity for scams

  • rate this

    Comment number 460.

    Those cigarette cases online are looking increasingly attractive....

    Seriously, I agree others on this HYS who suggest that counterfeit cigarettes could more easily be imported and sold, thus denying more revenue to the Treasury.

  • rate this

    Comment number 459.


    Actually that tax is given to the NHS to help the very same people who develop cancers, and not just lung cancer either, but it can cause oral cancers and throat cancers too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 458.


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

    that should be 'Smoking casues 85% of lung cancer in the UK compared with 5 - 7% in European non or ex smokers' - pity though, moving to France and therefore not getting lung cancer is an appealing idea ;-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 457.

    I don't smoke but I'm against this 'war on smokers' because of the precedent it sets.

    Eventually they'll come and try to micromanage other areas of our life and may hit on something I don't fancy giving up.

    If I didn't support smokers now as a matter of general principle I'd be a hypocrite to start moaning when they suddenly begin to interfere with something I like doing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 456.

    The packs should not be plain. They should ALL have the skull and cross bones and the word death on them! They are the most lethal and yet legal drug on the market.
    Ex smoker!

  • rate this

    Comment number 455.

    Don't normally comment on these but I'm happy to make an exception in this case. I'm laughing my backside off at all the smokers defending their right to smoke. You're defending the right to kill yourselves slowly, 'enjoying' an antisocial product that stinks, tastes horrible and costs, what, SEVEN QUID A PACKET? Keep it up, my BAT shares are worth a fortune because of weak-willed addicts like you

  • rate this

    Comment number 454.

    @441 Alcohol in moderation is not a problem and enjoyed by millions safely. Smoking even in moderation is a problem. Don’t ban alcohol. People who drink too much should be fined and taken out of society until they sober up. And pubs shouldn’t serve obviously drunk people. We’ll all have to drive electric cars when the oil eventually runs out so that will get fixed too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 453.

    Smokers make out that they choose to smoke. They don't - they smoke because they are addicted. I haven't met many smokers who don't say they wished the'd never started.


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