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Government to press ahead with standardised tobacco packaging

The Government is to press ahead with its plans to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes, after a detailed review of the evidence concluded that thousands fewer children would take up smoking if the packets were unbranded and less attractive.

The public health minister Jane Ellison told the House of Commons that the review by Sir Cyril Chantler, commissioned by the Government after it had postponed a decision on plain packs, ‘makes a compelling case that if standardised packaging were introduced, it would be very likely to have a positive impact on public health’.

The Government will introduce draft regulations ‘so it is crystal clear what we intend’, Ms Ellison said, and would announce the details shortly.

In response to the Government’s announcement Dr Ram Moorthy, chair of the BMA’s Board of Science, said: ‘It is encouraging that Sir Cyril Chantler’s review suggests that if standardised packaging were introduced it would have a positive impact on public health and discourage the next generation from smoking.’

“The BMA has long campaigned for the Government to introduce standardised packaging as a way of helping smokers quit and to help non-smokers, especially children who are heavily influenced by tobacco marketing, to never start.’

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