Experts urge government to publish draft regulations on plain tobacco packaging

June 10, 2014, British Medical Journal
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

Number of older people with four or more diseases will double by 2035, say researchers

January 23, 2018
A study published today in Age and Ageing, the scientific journal of the British Geriatrics Society, reports that the number of older people diagnosed with four or more diseases will double between 2015 and 2035. A third ...

Placental accumulation of flame retardant chemical alters serotonin production in rats

January 22, 2018
A North Carolina State University-led research team has shown a connection between exposure to a widely used flame retardant chemical mixture and disruption of normal placental function in rats, leading to altered production ...

Marijuana use does not lower chances of getting pregnant

January 22, 2018
Marijuana use—by either men or women—does not appear to lower a couple's chances of getting pregnant, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

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.