Added by Nigel Shelbourne on March 11, 2011
Britain has announced it may implement Australia’s initiative of plain packaging for cigarettes, says anti-smoking group QUIT.
Andrew Lansley, UK Health Secretary, on Wednesday announced plans that would not only move towards plain tobacco packaging reforms but also towards preventing shops from displaying tobacco products.
The announcement is contrary to claims made by the Alliance of Australian Retailers – funded mostly by the tobacco industry – that plain packaging has been rejected by the UK. The alliance was established last year to fight Australian plain packaging reforms.
Fiona Sharkie, QUIT Executive Director, said this was the reason why there had been so much resistance from the tobacco industry to the plain packaging programme: “They [tobacco companies] knew once one country acted, more would follow,” she said in a statement on Thursday.
She added that the announcement represents a global momentum towards tobacco products that are sold as “unbranded, generic packets with health warnings” as has been proposed for Australia in a world-first initiative next year.
“Plain packaging will stop the tobacco industry from using cigarette packs to recruit new smokers and promote their deadly and addictive products,” Ms Sharkie told media.
The announcement of UK’s new tobacco plans coincided with the country’s annual No Smoking Day. The display of tobacco products in large shops is anticipated to be banned from April 2012, and to be extended to include all shops by April 2015.