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BBC: Cigarette packaging: Ministers launch fresh review

Friday, 6 December 2013  at 15:06

The Government has announced an independent review of public health evidence on cigarette packaging to be led by Sir Cyril Chantler; this is expected to report back by March 2014.  In the meantime the Government has decided to introduce an amendment to the Children and Families Bill which will give the Secretary of State power (but not obligation) to introduce standardised cigarette packaging. 

The BBC stated on 28 November that this comes amid calls for action to discourage young smokers and their article goes on to report:

Public Health Minister Jane Ellison said it was now time to "examine the emerging evidence"…
In a Commons statement, Ms Ellison said standardised tobacco packaging would be brought in after the review if "we are satisfied that there are sufficient grounds to proceed, including public health benefit"…

The review, led by paediatrician Sir Cyril Chantler, is set to focus on a pilot scheme in Australia, which became the first country to legislate for standardised packaging in 2011…
Ms Ellison confirmed that the government would table its own amendment to the legislation, giving ministers the power to introduce regulations when Sir Cyril's review is complete in March 2014 - if they decide to proceed with the policy.

The options which would then be considered include packs having a uniform colour (dark olive green has been suggested previously) or using graphic images of smoking-related diseases on all packs.

Ms Ellison rejected Labour suggestions the rethink had been prompted by fears of defeat in the Lords, saying: "It's a year this weekend since the legislation was introduced in Australia. It's the right time to ask people to look at this."  This is fundamentally about children's health. Two thirds of people start smoking when they're children and it's one of the most important public health issues we face in this country.

"Asking an independent body to take a look and survey the evidence for us is a sensible next step. We are going to take the opportunity to put regulations in place which will enable us to act quickly." …

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* 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.
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