According to the Daily Mail, the Governments new plans to try and ‘curb’ smoking habits consist of introducing new brown packaging “covered in gruesome health warnings.”
Jane Ellison, health minister, commented on the change saying that it would “drive a modest but important reduction in smoking rates by making the packets less attractive to the next generation of smokers.”
These new ‘plain packets’ are said to have been a “milestone for the Government” and despite criticism regarding the Government’s delay in dealing with the issue, a spokesman said, “The prime minister is committed to the implementation of this. It’s the right thing to do.”
A number of health charities have also welcomed the proposed move, of which the draft regulations have been released for a “six-week consultation” however, has insisted that ministers act as soon as possible to begin implementing the move.
The Daily Mail states that a despite the persistence of experts claiming that current bright packaging are “the last marketing ploy tobacco companies use to lure people to their products”, two years ago when a consultation arose, ministers took no action to implement the changes.
It is estimated that around two thirds of smokers in the UK start the habit before they reach the legal age of 18. However, despite high hopes that the move will reduce the rate of smoking in underage teens, tobacco companies argue that the plain packets would “be easy to counterfeit and lead to a flood of fake cigarettes.”
In 2012, Australia became the first ever country to introduce standardised pack designs that consisted of no logos or branded imagery and despite company fears, a significant increase in smuggling was not noted.
The consultation that was released earlier by the Department of Health stated, “All cigarettes must be in drab brown packets with a matt finish and just contain the brand name in a standard size and font.”
Chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, Deborah Arnott, commented, “After much dithering and delay the regulations to make it happen have finally been published for consultation, but time is running out if they are to be voted on by Parliament before the General Election.”
“With every day’s delay, hundreds more children start smoking and the tobacco industry’s continuing influence at the heart of the Government becomes more and more obvious.”
Chief executive of Cancer Research UK, Harpal Kumar, said, “We’re delighted that the Government has, at the eleventh hour, published the draft regulations. We must move quickly from here”
“The initial consultation into standard packs in the UK began over two years ago and every single day since then hundreds more children have started smoking.”
Public Health Minister, Miss Ellison, added “We are minded to introduce regulations to provide for standardised packaging of tobacco products.”
“It is vital that any decision is properly and fully informed. The consultation includes a set of draft regulations so it is clear how such a policy would work in practice.”
At the moment, the current regulations regarding cigarette sales require them to be kept under-the-counter and out of sight of under-18’s in all supermarkets however, this regulation will apply to all small shops as of April 2015.
On top of this, a regulation stating that all cigarette packets must contain a minimum of 20 smokes is to be implemented by May 2016.
However, moving back to the standardised packaging movement, according to the BBC, there is no evidence to suggest that this actually has an impact on how many under 18’s take up smoking. The director of Forest also commented saying that smokers “were not attracted to the packaging”. In the debate between Diane Abbott and Simon Clark, they confer over the growing issue of the youth taking up the habit and both sides of the story when it comes to changing the cigarette packaging.
In a separate article also published by the BBC, the potential of a rise in black market sales is discussed; you can find the discussion by following the link provided above.
How do you feel about the proposed regulations regarding cigarettes? Do you agree with them?
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