UK to introduce standardised cigarette packaging

The UK Government is to enforce standardised cigarette packaging later this year, according to reports.

Australian standardised cigarette packaging
Australian standardised cigarette packaging

The Guardian says legislation is set to be announced in the Queen’s Speech in May that would ban branding on cigarette packs.

Prime Minister David Cameron had previously said Government was considering the ban, and cited rules in Australia, where cigarettes are sold in olive-green packaging featuring graphic images of body parts diseased by smoking – such as colour photographs of feet damaged by gangrene and pictures of eyes blinded by smoking.

The packaging was introduced in Australia on 1 December 2012, and the Australian government says it is part of a drive to reduce smoking levels from 16.6 per cent in 2007 to 10 per cent in 2018.

Australian standardised cigarette packaging
Australian standardised cigarette packaging

UK Government has been mulling the issue of standardised packaging in seriousness since 2010, when then Health Secretary Andrew Lansley launched a White Paper on public health that floated the idea.

However, the effectiveness of plain packaging has been questioned by some branding experts, with Jones Knowles Ritchie creative director Silas Amos suggesting that removing branding could give cigarettes ‘more cachet’ and ‘appeal to teenagers’ rebellious side.

Meanwhile tobacco companies, including Japan Tobacco International, say there is a ‘lack of evidence’ that standardising packaging would cut smoking levels.

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