Consultation launch comments

Wednesday, 9 May 2012  at 14:30

The launch of the consultation on the packaging of tobacco products has seen a wide variety of people and organisations voice their support and opinion. Below collated are just some of them:

Andrew Lansley, Health Secretary said: "Smoking remains one of the most significant challenges to public health.
"Each year it accounts for over 100,000 deaths in the UK and one in two long-term smokers will die prematurely from a smoking disease.
"That is why the health ministers across the UK have a responsibility to look closely at initiatives that might encourage smokers to quit and stop young people taking up smoking in the first place.
"Through the forthcoming consultation we want to hear as many views as possible about whether tobacco packing should remain unchanged, plain packaging should be adopted or a different option should be considered."
Mr Lansley said the tobacco companies used certain colours to trigger memories and their brands constituted a type of advertising.
"We don't want to work in partnership with the tobacco companies because we are trying to arrive at a point where they have no business in this country," he added.

Dr Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK's chief executive, said: "Now the consultation on tobacco packaging has been launched, we welcome the opportunity for our supporters and researchers to show their support for reducing the appeal of cigarettes.
"Tobacco is a uniquely dangerous product so any action that helps reduce smoking rates is vital. Research shows children are drawn to brands with appealing packaging. The cigarette pack is simply a seductive marketing tool that attracts young people into a habit that kills half of all long term smokers. Put simply this silent salesman promises pleasure but delivers death.
"Our latest figures show that lung cancer rates are continuing to rise in women - a devastating legacy from smoking habits decades ago. Cancer Research UK urges everyone to make their voices heard and sign up to our campaign to bring in plain packaging for tobacco products. Preventing children from starting is vital, and while plain packs won't stop everyone from starting, they will give millions of children one less reason to start."

Ash chief executive Deborah Arnott said there was ample evidence that plain packs were less attractive to young people and also helped highlight the statutory health warnings.
"The argument used by 'big tobacco' and its supporters that this would lead to an increase in smuggling is laughable," she said.
"It's already so easy to copy packaging that it's only through covert markings that enforcement officers can tell the difference between authentic and counterfeit cigarette packs.
"We need to make smoking history for our children and getting rid of the glitzy packaging is the essential next step if we are to succeed."

Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group Chair Dr Forbes Watson said “We are asking as many people as possible to take a few moments to look at the Plain Packs Protect website, find out more about how packaging attracts new smokers and how ridding the shelves of these packs could help protect generations to come. We are fortunate that across Dorset we have a lower than average percentage of smokers, however there are still too many people dying in the county each year as a direct result of their habit; and we welcome any moves to help protect people from the effects of smoking and to de-normalise the habit”.

Oliver Letwin MP for West Dorset: “We all know that smoking damages heath – and it is obviously extremely important to make sure that young people are not led into smoking by attractive packaging.”

Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive, ASH Scotland “We need plain packaging because two thirds of smokers start before they are 18 and the vast majority while still teenagers. Every day roughly 40 young Scots become smokers.”

Academics from the University’s Stirling Management School have conducted a systematic review of plain tobacco packaging which has led to the UK government’s consultation on whether tobacco should be sold in standardised or plain packaging.
The study team included Professor Gerard Hastings and Professor Linda Bauld, both of whom are members of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies. The review of evidence focusses on whether cigarettes should be sold in plain packs to reduce the attractiveness of the brand packaging and make the health warnings more clear.
Professor Hastings said: “Just over three dozen studies were identified and these show that plain packaging can help smokers in three ways: by increasing the prominence and effectiveness of health warnings; by making the pack, and thereby smoking, less appealing and removing the confusion about relative harm which pack design can cause.”
Professor Bauld added: “This systematic review forms the basis for the UK wide consultation on whether plain packaging should be introduced.  The studies we identified and describe in the review were remarkably consistent in their findings and clearly set out what effect plain packaging could have.
“The public consultation will take place from April to July and will help the government to decide whether the UK will follow Australia’s lead, where plain packaging will be introduced by 2013. I’d encourage people to have a look at the evidence set out in our review, make up their own minds about the issue and respond to the consultation.”

Elizabeth Shassere, Director of Public Health for Barnsley said: “I welcome this important consultation. Every year 300,000 people try smoking for the first time and around 200,000 become regular smokers.  Children are more likely to be attracted to the colourful glitzy packaging that gives misleading messages to youth and adult smokers. If we are to halt the smoking epidemic robust measures are necessary and putting tobacco in plain packaging will go a long way towards achieving this goal.”

NHS Director of Public Health for Berkshire East Pat Riordan said, “Plain packaging aims to ensure that packaging itself cannot act as an advert to youngsters tempting them into a highly-addictive habit that could seriously damage their health and lead to an early death. We urge people to participate in the consultation and make their views about plain packaging registered.”

Dan Rogerson MP said: “Whilst there have been some positive steps forward in recent years, such as the ban on advertising tobacco, better health warnings on products and a ban on cigarette vending machines, it is right that we do more to reduce the uptake of smoking amongst young people.
“I am pleased that the Coalition Government is looking at innovative approaches, such as plain packaging, to achieve this.
“Australia has passed legislation to bring in plain packaging for cigarettes by the end of this year, and I commend the Coalition Government’s intention to consult on whether plain, standardised packaging for tobacco would work here – to reduce the uptake of smoking and bring along a huge improvement in people’s health.”

Sue Weston, Smokefree Warwickshire Coordinator, said: “While tobacco advertising in the UK is a thing of the past, advertising on cigarette packaging remains. Every year, 340,000 children in the UK are tempted to try smoking and evidence suggests they are more likely to be attracted by designed tobacco packs, than by plain packs. We’re encouraging people to read and respond to the consultation.”

Carolyn Rule, Cabinet Member for Health & Wellbeing and HR at Cornwall Council, said: “I would encourage people to help make plain tobacco packaging a reality in the UK by signing up to this online petition and letting their local MP know their views. No parent wants to see their child facing a premature death and anything that can discourage them from being tempted by cigarettes should be welcomed.”

Felicity Owen, Director of Public Health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “We now have legislation in place to prevent children being targeted by tobacco promotion in large shops and supermarkets as tobacco displays have to be covered up.
“This campaign aims to extend that protection post sale by ensuring the packaging itself cannot act as an advert to youngsters, tempting them into a highly-addictive habit that could seriously damage their health and lead to an early death.”

Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy, secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health, said “Breaking the cycle and preventing children taking up smoking is the most effective way to reduce the use of tobacco and the long term damage it does to health. 5% of 11 to 15-year-olds are regular smokers and the habit leads to nearly 100,000 deaths in the UK yearly.
“I welcome this consultation and will be interested to see what responses come forward and to see whether plain packaging can be an additional tool to reduce the take up of smoking. I would encourage anyone with a view on this to take part in the consultation or contact me and I will be happy to pass on your views.”

Stewart Brock, NHS Somerset Public Health Specialist said: “Smokers start as children and continue as adults. Two thirds of smokers start before they are 18 and the vast majority while still teenagers - these are shocking facts. Big Tobacco knows this only too well and uses packaging to help replace the 100,000 people lost every year to smoking related diseases.
“Smoking is an epidemic that affects children and moving tobacco products into standardised,
plain packaging is designed to protect them and is not about current smokers.”
* This number reflects the total amount of people who have signed up to support the plain packaging of tobacco products, via the Plain Packs Protect Partnership (logos below), British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK websites.
Supporters Smoke Free South West Ulster Cancer Foundation ash Ash Scotland Ash Wales British Heart Foundation Cancer Research UK Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Cut Films Faculty of Public Health Fresh Smoke Free North East National Heart Forum NCSCT BTS - Stop Smoking Champions The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation Royal College of Physicians TCC Tobacco Free Future Trading Standards Partnership South West Smoke Free Lincs - Promoting a tobacco free life