Cigarette packaging: Wales could go it alone

Image caption UK government ministers want to assess how a similar scheme is operating in Australia.

Wales could go it alone and introduce plain cigarette packaging after the UK government announced it was delaying its plans, it is claimed.

Welsh government officials are understood to be examining whether ministers in Cardiff Bay have the power to introduce their own policy.

Under the plans, cigarette packets would all be the same colour, have the same font and carry a graphic warning.

UK government ministers have denied caving in to the tobacco industry.

A Welsh government spokesperson said: "We have noted the statement from the secretary of state for health and are disappointed that potential legislation to introduce standardised packaging for tobacco products has been delayed by the UK government.

"We will continue to make our views known to the Department of Health and will be liaising with colleagues in the other devolved administrations on this issue.

"Officials will be working to consider the way forward."

Wales introduced a ban on smoking in public places in April 2007, three months ahead of England.

UK government ministers said on Friday that a decision on plain packaging had been delayed in order to assess how a similar scheme was operating in Australia.

It is designed to discourage young people from smoking by making the packets less attractive.

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