A letter published in the Guardian called on the Coalition to act on cigarette packaging.
The letter read:
On 5 March the secretary of state for health published his call to
action on reducing premature mortality. This correctly identified
tobacco use as the biggest single behavioural risk factor for premature
death and included a commitment to decide whether to introduce
standardised packaging, as recommended by health organisations he
consulted, including signatories to this letter (Report,
17 April). But with the Queen's speech only two weeks away, we have yet
to hear of any such decision.
The arguments in favour of standardised
packaging are compelling and we have yet to see any credible evidence
from the tobacco industry
against legislation. This has clearly been recognised by public health
minister Anna Soubry MP, who made clear her support for standardised
packaging of tobacco products on the Today programme last Friday.
Tobacco, unlike other causes of disease, has a global and powerful industry promoting its interests. JTI Gallaher,
maker of Camel, is spending over £2m on its campaign against standard
packs, running ads that have been ruled misleading by advertising
watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority.
With over 200,000 young
people taking up smoking every year and 100,000 people dying as a result
of their habit, we urgently need assurances from Jeremy Hunt
that he will listen to health experts and stand firm against this
industry pressure. It will take a lot of explanation if this crucial
public health measure is not included in the Queen's speech on 8 May.
Professor Lindsey Davies President, Faculty of Public Health, Dr Janet Atherton President, Association of Directors of Public Health, Dr Vivienne Nathanson Director of professional activities, BMA, Dr Clare Gerada Chair of council, Royal College of General Practitioners, Professor John Britton Director, UKCTCS, Simon Gillespie Chief executive, British Heart Foundation, Leon Livermore Chief executive, Trading Standards Institute, Penny Woods Chief executive, British Lung Foundation, Francine Bates Chief executive, Lullaby Trust, Professor John Moxham Chair, Ash
Click here to read the letter on the Guardian website.
* 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.