Britain considering plain cigarette packs

November 21, 2010

Tobacco companies could be forced to sell cigarettes in plain grey or brown packaging in Britain in an attempt to deter youngsters from taking up smoking, the health secretary suggested Sunday.

Andrew Lansley is considering switching all brand packs to a standard colour in the belief that brightly coloured packages lure prospective smokers from a young age.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Health said colourful packs were widely accepted as the last form of marketing available for tobacco companies to recruit new smokers.

The current intention is to ask retailers to cover up their displays of so that children are not attracted by the packaging, but ministers want to examine the use of plain packets as well.

Ministers want to see if changing cigarette packet appearance could deter children from taking up and support people who are trying to quit, the spokeswoman said.

Plain packs would just show only basic information and health and picture warnings.

"We have to try new approaches and take decisions to benefit the population," Lansley said.

"That's why I want to look at the idea of plain packaging. The evidence is clear that packaging helps to recruit smokers, so it makes sense to consider having less attractive packaging.

"The levels of and deaths from smoking are still far too high, and the cost to the National Health Service (NHS) and the economy is vast. That money could be used to educate our children and treat cancer."

Campaigners Action on Smoking and Health called for Lansley to set a date for switching the packets.

"We're glad the secretary of state recognises the harm done by brightly coloured tobacco packaging in helping hook children and young people on tobacco," said chief executive Deborah Arnott.

"If he is serious about putting in plain, standardised packs then he should set a date now for when the law will come before parliament and when it will come into force."

The Department of Health said 337,000 people stopped smoking last year with the help of free support from the NHS and the number of in Britain has fallen by a quarter in the past decade.

In 2007 more than 80,000 deaths and 1.4 million hospital admissions were attributed to smoking.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Amber-tinted glasses may provide relief for insomnia

December 15, 2017
How do you unwind before bedtime? If your answer involves Facebook and Netflix, you are actively reducing your chance of a good night's sleep. And you are not alone: 90 percent of Americans use light-emitting electronic devices, ...

Warning labels can help reduce soda consumption and obesity, new study suggests

December 15, 2017
Labels that warn people about the risks of drinking soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages can lower obesity and overweight prevalence, suggests a new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study.

Office work can be a pain in the neck

December 15, 2017
Neck pain is a common condition among office workers, but regular workplace exercises can prevent and reduce it, a University of Queensland study has found.

Regular takeaways linked to kids' heart disease and diabetes risk factors

December 14, 2017
Kids who regularly eat take-away meals may be boosting their risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, suggests research published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Simulation model finds Cure Violence program and targeted policing curb urban violence

December 14, 2017
When communities and police work together to deter urban violence, they can achieve better outcomes with fewer resources than when each works in isolation, a simulation model created by researchers at the UC Davis Violence ...

Your pets can't put your aging on 'paws'

December 14, 2017
(HealthDay)—In a finding that's sure to ruffle some fur and feathers, scientists report that having a pet doesn't fend off age-related declines in physical or mental health.

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Telekinetic
1 / 5 (2) Nov 21, 2010
I just walked by a foursome of smokers outside a bar when I overheard one of them, a woman, proudly announce that she was a cancer survivor. Tobacco is the most insidious recreational drug, as people will defend their right to become ill. I quit smoking when my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and subsequently died 10 months later. It's been 5 years and it still feels like an avoidable tragedy. When your broker invests in the stock market, your money may be invested in tobacco, a surefire return despite Big Tobacco's setbacks.
Shootist
1 / 5 (1) Nov 21, 2010
"Forget conservative or liberal, Tory or Labor; there are only two types of people in the world, those who would control the actions of others, and those who have no such desire" - Robert A. Heinlein

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.