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The Plain Packs debate - in the public eye

Monday, 21 May 2012  at 12:40


The Government has officially started a public consultation on whether the UK should follow in Australia’s footsteps by adopting plain packaging and Thursday, May 10th saw an open debate held at Bristol University’s Student Union.

Supporting the move towards Plain Packaging were Stephen Williams, MP Chair of the All Parliamentary Committee on Smoking and Health, and Dr Gabriel Scally, former Regional Director of Public Health for the South West. And arguing to keep designed tobacco packs were Simon Clark, Director of the smokers’ lobby group Forest, and Chris Snowdon, historian, blogger and author of a recent booklet on plain packaging (published by the Adam Smith Institute).  

Key Issues
The main arguments in favour of plain packs underlined strongly that smoking related illnesses are one of the biggest health issues facing us, and that smoking is a childhood epidemic. The packs themselves were also shown to illustrate how they are used as a marketing and advertising tool.

The opposing argument suggested that the campaign was not needed and plain packs would not work.  The suggestion that plain packaging would be detrimental to small businesses sat strangely alongside the claim that plain packaging would have no impact whatsoever on smoking rates!

As the debate developed, it became apparent that majority of the support was for plain packaging and that the arguments against were not so compelling.

Overall, the debate was a huge success for all those interested in the Plain Packs Protect campaign, as it brought to light the core reasons why this is such an important issue. There was no hiding from the facts that plain packaging could help stop children smoking - and it was clear to see for everyone who attended.

To hear more about the plain packaging debate please visit
* 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