Ministers take a step closer to plain packaging for cigarettes

Kate McCann
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Sir Cyril Chantler believes plain packets will have a positive effect on public health (Source: AFP/Getty Images)
The government moves a step closer to introducing plain packaging for cigarettes today, with a statement introducing a final consultation on the measure.

Health minister Jane Ellison yesterday announced a six-week consultation, ending on 7 August, to include draft legislation as an advance warning to tobacco manufacturers.

In November last year, the government commissioned Sir Cyril Chantler to review the evidence in support of plain packaging. In his report, published in April 2014, Sir Cyril concluded that introducing plain packets would have a positive effect on public health, but since then ministers had been accused of dragging their feet in the face of strong opposition from the tobacco lobby.

Giles Roca, director general of the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association, said: “Introducing ineffective tools such as plain packaging is not the answer. We now know that plain packaging has proven not to work, with evidence from Australia showing it has resulted in an increase in illicit trade. There is also clear evidence that organised criminality would seek to take advantage of plain packaging by making it easier to bring illicit tobacco into the UK, which is likely to result in more not less instances of under-age smoking.”

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