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 492.

    Junk food/obesity costs the NHS the most - ..."

    And, interestingly, fizzy drinks are the biggest cause of obesity. Bit of a surprise that. (Source : BBC 'The Men Who Made Us Fat', Episode 1).

  • rate this

    Comment number 491.

    481.Derpsworth "Junk food/obesity costs the NHS the most"
    No. The most recent figures put the cost of 'obesity+overweight' at appx £4bn, compared to £5bn for smoking. However the former includes any condition to which obesity is considered a 'contributing factor', and the spiralling cost of trying to make people thin using drugs / surgeries with myriad expensive side effects and complications.

  • rate this

    Comment number 490.

    @ 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), "

    No sir, you are incorrect.
    Cost to NHS, ESTIMATED at £5bn per annum
    Income to Treasury, MEASURED at £10bn per annum

  • rate this

    Comment number 489.

    If smokers die younger, doesn't that save the NHS money in the long run?

    We can't all live until we're a hundred years old - and I'm sure the NHS and pension fund companies wouldn't want us to either.

  • rate this

    Comment number 488.

    Just how is this supposed to stop young people smoking? They do it because they see it as rebellious and cool. Like with most things the more you tell teenagers not to do it the more they want to.

    The best way to stop them is to get boring and uncool people like David Cameron to start smoking publicly. No teenager will want to emulate someone like that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 487.

    @ 482

    I took the quote literally...

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

    but "5 - 7% in European non or ex smokers"

    Not just a question of questionable use of statistics, but also one of questionable linguistics.

    Surely some mistake?!

  • rate this

    Comment number 486.

    I think the artwork on cigarette packets should be of Andrew Lansley. All dressed in white robes with wings and a halo. Plus, the picture should also show him with a net bag full of dollars in one hand, and the NHS in the other hand in a suffocating plastic bag.

  • rate this

    Comment number 485.

    468 - Fatpeace
    Erm, wasn't that a specific BRAND, proving that advertising / branding has an effect? It was also popular with teens as rock stars such as Slash endorsed them. But again it show how effective adverising and branding is and the importance of plain packaging.

  • rate this

    Comment number 484.

    To those who suggest my wife should just have quit: *SHE* *TRIED*. She just could not manage it. She was addicted. The tobacco companies ensured she would be. They *know* what they are doing. It is deliberate mass murder. It is conspiracy to genocide. It is corruption on a vast scale and no one will ever be jailed for it because tobacco makes more money than illegal drugs could ever do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 483.

    Different suggestion to make the packets less appealing to teenagers. Put a thumping great un-cool picture on the packet, maybe Cliff Richard or Boris Johnson... Might feel uncool getting those out a pocket...

  • rate this

    Comment number 482.


    No, it says that lung cancer in 5-7% of European non or ex smokers is not caused by smoking. I've no idea why Cancer Research match UK smokers to European non smokers (doing such smells of a statistical trick - why would they do that?).

  • rate this

    Comment number 481.

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

    Unbelievably incorrect - use Google. 12bn vs circa £5bn. Yes thats more than twice the cost of smoking related illnesses is generated by tobacco sales. Junk food/obesity costs the NHS the most - none of your post was correct

  • rate this

    Comment number 480.

    This isnt even worth the article, if people want to smoke... they will smoke. Simple as. From working in retail I can safely say that when the 'deterent' of picture health warnings became legit, it did nothing to deter sales in my store. If anything, the media hype and the fact they became more of a taboo increased the sales. The more they become outlawed, the more they become appealing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 479.

    My wife recently died of metastisised cancers caused by tobacco smoking. The tobacco companies have been deliberately adding carcinogens to tobacco to make it more addictive. They are criminally conspiring with the rulers of our countries to murder millions of us, and every MP and Senator knows this. And personally profits from it.
    They deliberately murdered my wife and I can do nothing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 478.

    I'd have a lot more sympathy for smokers if they didn't constantly keep trying to derail this HYS by comparing themselves to 'obesity' and fat people. As I said earlier, we're all in the same boat where the health police are concerned. And there's no comparison with banning food advertising: whilst even so-called 'junk' food is harmless / beneficial in moderation, can the same be said for cigs?

  • rate this

    Comment number 477.

    Meh. Bans or prohibition have little or no effect whatsoever, quite the reverse in fact. If you want to make something attractive to teenagers, ban it.

    Heroin & crack cocaine are illegal but it doesn't stop people from using them.

    Still, I suppose it's a job for some poor soul to prowl around the shops with a clipboard making sure nobody is breaking the law on cigarette advertising.

  • rate this

    Comment number 476.

    The Australian court cases would definitely be repeated here in the UK - what cigarette company is going to give up 50 years or more of the investment they have made in advertising branding over that time without massive compensation?

  • rate this

    Comment number 475.

    "Smokers make out that they choose to smoke."

    I do. I enjoy smoking, I really do.

    "I haven't met many smokers who don't say they wished the'd never started"

    You've met another now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 474.

    447 - Fatpeace
    There is plenty of EVIDENCE, One example can be found here: By no means will it be 100% effective, but if it can help young people from starting, whats the problem?

  • rate this

    Comment number 473.


    You're making the same silly arguements that those against the idea of global warming are, trying to stave off very high correlations as a coincidence to defend thier way of life. People like you disgust me.

    Also, I'm sure independant scientists actually test these things aswell.


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