Tobacco Industry Refutes Government Plans to Ban Branded Cigarette Packaging

Following a review commissioned by the Government last November, plans are underway to force tobacco makers to sell cigarettes in plain packaging.

The move to outlaw branded packaging on cigarettes comes after findings which indicate that plain alternatives will have a "positive impact" on public health. In particular, the new measure is expected to reduce the number of child smokers. The report discovered that if the rate of children smoking were reduced by even 2%, it would result in 4,000 fewer youngsters taking up smoking annually.

Speaking today (3 April) at the House of Commons, public health minister Jane Ellison said the ban on branded cigarette packaging will move forward as "swiftly as possible" after a short consultation and the introduction of draft regulations, which will include details of when the change will take place.

Meanwhile, a spokesman from the Tobacco Manufacturers Association (TMA) which represents the UK's tobacco sector, has refuted the decision by saying there is no "credible evidence" that plain packaging will improve public health.

He commented: "Plain packaging will simply lower the barriers to entry for criminals, as tobacco products would become far easier and cheaper to copy, adding to the £7.9m per day in tax revenue that is currently lost to the illegal tobacco market. Australia is the only country to have introduced plain packaging and the illegal tobacco market has increased markedly, whilst smoking rates have remained the same."

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