The UK government has announced that it is moving forward with plans to ban branding on cigarette packs.
The decision announced today followed the publication of an independent review by Sir Cyril Chantler which found that standardised packaging was "very likely to have a positive impact" on public health and in stopping children from starting to smoke.
The Chantler review has also concluded that standardised packaging need not increase the illicit trade in tobacco, rejecting claims from the tobacco industry. All the key security features on existing packs of cigarettes would be present on standardised packs (including coded numbering and covert anti-counterfeit marks).
The UK Government now plans to draft regulations for a final, "short consultation".
“Bringing in standardised packaging in the UK will make attractive cigarette packs targeted directly at our young people history. Smoking kills and the time has come to take away the tobacco industry’s last form of advertising to our children.”
Standardised packaging is popular with the public. A new poll by YouGov, published today and conducted for ASH Wales in March 2014, found that overall 66% of adults in Wales support or strongly support plain standardised packaging.
In November 2013, the Government announced that it had appointed the eminent paediatrician Sir Cyril Chantler to conduct an independent review into the public health impact of the standardised packaging of cigarettes and tobacco products. The announcement followed Parliamentary votes to include in the Children and Families Bill powers for the Health Secretary to introduce regulations on standardised packaging in England. The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Governments have also supported the policy.
Australia was the first country to introduce standardised packaging, in December 2012. Soon after standardised packs began to appear in Australian shops, smokers reported that they found cigarettes from plain packs less appealing or satisfying. Research showed that, compared with smokers who were still using branded packs, the plain pack smokers were 81% more likely to have thought about quitting at least once a day during the previous week and to rate quitting as a higher priority in their lives than smokers using brand packs. There was also a big increase in the number of people contacting smoking quit-lines following the introduction of the new packs.