Public Health England (PHE) has said there is “substantial and compelling evidence” to support the introduction of standardised cigarette packaging, whilst responding to an independent review.
The response was submitted to the independent review on standardised cigarette packaging, being led by Sir Cyril Chantler. The review was launched after campaigners slammed tobacco companies for targeting children with colourful cigarette packs.
PHE said that there is strong evidence to suggest that a legislative requirement on all tobacco products would make smoking less attractive, especially for young people, and could also increase current smokers’ intentions to quit.
Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at PHE, said, “Public Health England is convinced that standardised packaging is a crucial component of our broader efforts to reduce the incidence and prevalence of smoking, improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people, and reduce premature mortality”.
Plans to introduce standardised cigarette packaging were shelved last July, with an independent review announced that would assess whether or not the rules would have any impact on smoking numbers, especially amongst children.
This decision was heavily criticised by campaigners, who called for a free vote in parliament amid a “clear majority in both Houses of Parliament”, and in particular the shadow health minister Andy Burnham, who raised concerns over David Cameron’s links with the tobacco industry.
Cameron’s election co-ordinator, Lynton Crosby, was accused of chairing a meeting in 2012 where tobacco industry executives discussed ways to block the government’s plans to introduce plain cigarette packaging.
In a campaign launched by Cancer Research UK, children are filmed describing cigarette packaging, with one child saying, “It makes you feel like you’re in a wonderland of happiness”.
You can see the campaign video below.
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