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 632.

    @ 626.Matt & 623.alexicon, it is a fact that the tax revenue is currently £13 billion on tobacco and the estimated cost to the NHS is £2.8 billion. That link from the BBC is out of date and bias, it is not fact at all. My figures come directly from the Deparment of Health website and its a commonly known fact

  • rate this

    Comment number 631.

    So your argument goes because we can't improve everything, we shouldn't try to improve anything. Presumably happy to go back to poisonong our kids brains with lead in petrol then?
    And any sane person when making any kind of improvement would always start with the cheapest, easiest things first.

  • rate this

    Comment number 630.

    @ 612.wilburforce

    You miss the point. Being drunk and disorderly in public IS illegal, as are being abusive, urinating, littering etc.

    I'd wager if I had a 'couple of wines' or 'a few beers' you probably wouldn't be able to tell if you saw me in the street. Drinking to excess is the problem.

    The government is always on about stopping binge drinking just like they are about smoking.

  • rate this

    Comment number 629.

    At the moment smoking is an easy habit to fall into.

    If I was a smoker I would be furious with the older generation for allowing me such easy access to cigarettes when I was young and vulnerable.

    I say time to hide the cigarettes from the next generation. What they've never had they'll never miss. And they'll be healthy and well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 628.

    I think this is yet another crazy idea that it would stop people smoking - no it wont! I have to also add wouldn't plain packaging make it easier for counterfeiters to emulate - how would you know if you were getting the real deal? At the end of the day if I choose to smoke and I pay my taxes who are the government to say what im doing is wrong - they like to make a fortune on the duty dont they?

  • rate this

    Comment number 627.

    603.Laurie Knight "That Smokers and the Obese cost the NHS more is the most popular urban myth I know".
    Quite. I don't know about smokers but a recent US study ( ) found that not only do those with BMI of 25-35 live longest, the mortality risk of even the highest BMIs was statistically insignificant. No media coverage of course, as it doesn't fit their narrative.

  • rate this

    Comment number 626.

    @609 Facts please!
    2009: cost to NHS of smoking related cancer, cardiovascular and lung disease - around £5bn ( Full economic costs are far higher still since this figure covers neither all tobacco related illness nor other indirect costs eg lost productivity, informal care, costs of treating passive smokers etc
    2009 govt tobacco revenue - £10bn.

  • rate this

    Comment number 625.

    @616 'A_from_Oxford'
    OK. You are welcome to the last word. I wouldn't deny you your drug of choice. Enjoy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 624.

    @615 egglondon

    If secondary inhalation is a valid argument to ban smoking in public places then we should probably go right ahead and ban diesel and petrol engines, smoke stacks and anything else that releases carcinogens into the atmosphere. But, that would obviously be absurd. So we go after the easy targets and hammer smokers for what?

  • rate this

    Comment number 623.

    The tax on smoking keeps the NHS running & everyone elses taxes down. The revenue is around £13 billion per year & the estimated cost to the NHS is around £2.8 billion per year.

    No - 5bn in 2005 so about 7bn now.
    Plus, the nhs doesn't keep figures so many costs are missed in the estimate.
    the money doesn't go the NHS, so doesn't "keep it running".

  • rate this

    Comment number 622.

    When you first start those cigarettes are absolutely horrible, you carry on until you get used to, then addicted them. You deliberately start and make yourself like it. Why people do that is what needs finding out, it can't be fancy packets that entice people into smoking.

  • rate this

    Comment number 621.

    Lets have some freedom to choose for ourselves in this so called democracy. Our masters the politicians seem hell bent of forcing us to abide by their health regime. A bit like the Nazis in Germany and they banned smoking too and were the first country to do it.

    I will happily run a black market on tobacco if they ban it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 620.

    606.Lies About His Life "drugs like cannabis".
    Yeah, great. Instead of a nation of smokers we can have one of stoned, schizophrenic drop-outs instead. Ever seen what pot does to a productive member of society? Plus, smoking weed still causes cancer and tends to induce 'the munchies', which can make you fat which as countless posters on here insist on reminding everyone is The. Worst. Thing. Ever.

  • rate this

    Comment number 619.

    Nothing will not stop smokers from quitting, instead makes the retail worker that serves the customer, job harder.

    With the doors over the tobacco display, after a few days off not working in the kiosk, everyone forgets which door to open and customers get frustrated.

    Plain packaging will make things worse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 618.

    @ 550. A_from_Oxford @ 542. Abloke

    Ok 550 A it doesnt matter how much they pay the fumes still cause cancer, even 1k a day doesnt make the slightest difference in fume toxicity.

    @ 542 yes sunshine can cause cancer thats why you have sunblock !

    We have the means for clean fuel too, just nobody wants to pay as usual.

    Useless waste of time study really trying to divert from real issues.

  • 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 616.

    @coram-populo-2010 (600)

    Nothing's wrong with your saying you prefer to socialise with a cigarette smoker than someone permanently off their head from drugs and/or alcohol. I was just remarking that if that's really the best that can be said for socialising with a smoker, then it really isn't much of a recommendation for it. It's like saying that I'd rather Stalin than some other dictator.

  • rate this

    Comment number 615.

    to 380. Hampshire John - the reason for banning in the places you mention is so that the rest of us don't have to inhale your second hand smoke. As long as you smoke away from me and others who prefer not to stink then please continue until you're one big tumour.

  • 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.


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