Experts urge government to publish draft regulations on plain tobacco packaging

June 10, 2014
Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body and causes many diseases. Credit: CDC/Debora Cartagena

More than 600 doctors, nurses and other NHS health professionals are today urging the UK Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Health to publish draft regulations on standardized, plain tobacco packaging.

The UK parliament has voted overwhelmingly to support the introduction of for cigarettes and other tobacco products - and the Public Health Minister announced that she hoped to publish draft regulations for consultation before the end of April.

But nearly two months have passed and this has still not happened, say the authors of an open letter published in BMJ today.

Smoking-related disease remains the number one cause of preventable deaths in the UK, killing more than 100,000 people every year, they write.

Most smokers start in childhood and exposure to is known to increase this risk. Ending the marketing of cigarettes and through their packaging is therefore "a necessary and logical step to protect public and particularly the health of children at risk of becoming smokers," they say.

They point to an independent review that found good evidence to support plain packaging and also rejected misleading tobacco industry opposition.

The review also found no reason why plain packaging would increase the level of illicit trade in because key security features on existing packaging will be retained on standardised packs, including number codes and covert anti-counterfeit marks.

The Government has committed to a six week public consultation period after the draft regulations are published and it will also need to notify the European Union of the draft regulations - a process that can take up to six months, explain the authors.

"There is a relatively short time left for the Government to produce the draft regulations if they are to be voted on before the General Election," they warn. "We therefore ask you to confirm that they will be published in the next few weeks."

Explore further: Tobacco industry claims 'plain' packs won't work based on weak evidence

More information: Paper: www.bmj.com/cgi/doi/10.1136/bmj.g3779

Related Stories

Tobacco industry claims 'plain' packs won't work based on weak evidence

February 12, 2014
Tobacco companies lack strong, relevant evidence to support their claims that standardised (plain) packaging of tobacco products in the UK won't work, finds research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Cigarette box advertising: A strong case for plain packaging

October 23, 2013
Researchers at the University of Surrey are encouraging the UK government to follow in the footsteps of Australia, which is the first country to introduce compulsory plain packaging for tobacco products.

Tobacco industry claims on cigarette packaging are nonsense

November 23, 2012
Claims that replacing alluring designs on cigarette packs with a plain standardised look will increase illegal tobacco production are baseless - according to a new report published today (Friday) by an international expert.

Standardised cigarette packs trigger 'rise in Quitline calls'

January 20, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Plain, standardised tobacco packaging sparked a 78 per cent increase in calls to an Australian stop-smoking helpline just one month after its introduction, figures in the Medical Journal of Australia show.

Mums and grans back plain, standardised packaging to protect children from tobacco marketing

August 26, 2013
While the UK government remains unsure about the effectiveness of removing glamorous packaging on cigarettes, eight in ten women have less doubt and agree that bright, colourful packaging tends to make products more attractive ...

Concern over tobacco packaging as kids say packs have more influence than celebrities

March 19, 2014
The power of packaging is twice as likely as celebrities to influence children (40 per cent vs 20 per cent) when they think about buying a product, according to a new YouGov survey* - boosting the argument for putting tobacco ...

Recommended for you

Sugar not so sweet for mental health

July 27, 2017
Sugar may be bad not only for your teeth and your waistline, but also your mental health, claimed a study Thursday that was met with scepticism by other experts.

Could insufficient sleep be adding centimeters to your waistline?

July 27, 2017
Adults in the UK who have poor sleep patterns are more likely to be overweight and obese and have poorer metabolic health, according to a new study.

Vitamin E-deficient embryos are cognitively impaired even after diet improves

July 27, 2017
Zebrafish deficient in vitamin E produce offspring beset by behavioral impairment and metabolic problems, new research at Oregon State University shows.

The role of dosage in assessing risk of hormone therapy for menopause

July 27, 2017
When it comes to assessing the risk of estrogen therapy for menopause, how the therapy is delivered—taking a pill versus wearing a patch on one's skin—doesn't affect risk or benefit, researchers at UCLA and elsewhere ...

Blowing smoke? E-cigarettes might help smokers quit

July 26, 2017
People who used e-cigarettes were more likely to kick the habit than those who didn't, a new study found.

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

0 comments

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.