Britain could have plain cigarette packets by 2015

Cigarettes could be sold in plain packets in Britain from 2015 after the government moved Thursday to revive a policy aimed at stopping young people from taking up smoking.

Junior health minister Jane Ellison said that an independent review of the evidence on plain packaging would be carried out by March.

Prime Minister David Cameron's government had in July postponed plans to force tobacco firms to use plain packaging, saying it was waiting to see the effects of a similar move in Australia.

The government was reported to be worried about the impact on jobs in the that any ban on branded packaging might have as Britain emerges from recession.

But ministers have now changed course by announcing the review.

"We must do all we can to stop from taking up smoking in the first place if we are to reduce the smoking rates," Ellison told parliament.

"I believe the time is right to seek an independent view on whether the introduction of standardised packaging is likely to have an effect on public health. In particular, I want to know about the likely impact on young people."

Australia in December last year became the first country in the world to force tobacco firms to sell cigarettes in identical, olive-green packets bearing the same typeface and largely covered with graphic health warnings.

Health charities have pushed hard for a similar move in Britain, saying colourful branded packets encourage young people to see smoking as a glamorous activity.

But have said a ban would have little impact on levels and would lead to a rise in counterfeit cigarettes.

The opposition Labour party accused Cameron's Conservative-led government of ordering the review because it was set to lose a vote on plain packaging in the upper House of Lords next month.

"Only a as shambolic as this one could now be u-turning on a u-turn," said Labour's health spokeswoman Luciana Berger.

"Standardised packaging makes cigarettes less attractive to young people. We should be legislating now, not delaying."

Cameron came under fire in July when the ban on branded packaging was postponed, with opposition lawmakers asking whether the decision was influenced by links between his chief party strategist and tobacco companies.

Lynton Crosby, the Australian strategist for Cameron's Conservative party, runs a public relations firm that has previously acted for opposed to the move in Australia.

Cameron's official spokesman denied there was any link between Crosby and the delay.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Britain shelves plain cigarette pack plans

Jul 12, 2013

Britain on Friday announced it had postponed plans to introduce plain packaging on cigarettes, saying it was waiting to see the results of a similar move in Australia.

Recommended for you

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury (Update)

Apr 18, 2014

About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City's jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that's the latest in a growing body ...

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

Apr 18, 2014

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

User comments