Government concludes consultation on plain cigarette packaging

The Government’s consultation on whether or not to introduce plain cigarette packaging has finished.

Branding on cigarette packs could soon be completely removed

Source: Mello Veschallah

Branding on cigarette packs could soon be completely removed

The Department of Health set out to see if removing all branding would reduce the number of young people taking up smoking when it launched the enquiry in April.

In recent weeks a fierce debate has arisen on the effectiveness of the move if it was to be passed.

Last month Japan Tobacco International launched a campaign targeting the UK government claiming there was a ‘lack of evidence’ for the campaign’s effectiveness.

Now other tobacco companies are standing their ground and threatening expensive legal battles for the government.

At its most radical  packaging standardisation could mean plain boxes, with just the name of the brand in standardised type, and health warnings, or possibly the addition of olive green, deemed to be an unattractive colour in a smoking context by the Australian government, which is looking at a similar move.

Crucially, the review will place its findings on 37 studies which it says will provide ‘concrete evidence’ of the impact of plain tobacco packaging.

The review will look to prove three main benefits: Plain packaging making tobacco products less attractive and less appealing, health warnings becoming more obvious, and that ‘it would reduce the use of design techniques that may mislead consumers about the harmfulness of tobacco products.’

In the run up to the review, last year, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said, ‘The evidence is clear that packaging helps to recruit smokers, so it makes sense to consider having less attractive packaging. It’s wrong that children are being attracted to smoking by glitzy designs on packets.’

No date has been finalised for announcing the results, or what the next step forward will be after this but Public Health Minister Anne Milton has said, ‘We have an open mind on this issue and will make a decision on any further action after we have considerd the repsonses, evidence and other relevant information.’

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