Plain cigarette packets could damage health

PROPOSALS to remove colours and logos from cigarette packets may do more harm than good, encouraging smugglers and increasing the number of poor quality, illegal cigarettes smoked, according to research out today from the Adam Smith Institute.

In the coming weeks the government is expected to announce a consultation on a range of proposals, including banning coloured packets and replacing them with plain boxes featuring large warnings.

“Already one in nine cigarettes around the world is counterfeit, with counterfeit cigarettes often having two to three times the level of heavy metals found in legitimate brands,” the report said. “Plain packaging will mean the standardising of cigarette packaging, which will help illicit trade.”

The findings were backed by Angela Harbutt from the Hands Off Our Packs campaign, who argued there is no evidence the plans will cut smoking.

“The government should put more effort into enforcing existing laws against selling tobacco to under-18 year olds,” she said, instead of creating new restrictions which “will hit law-abiding shopkeepers and drive more business into the hands of criminal gangs.”

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