The UK government has said that it plans to press ahead with plans to introduce plain packaging for tobacco products, with legislation earmarked for introduction in May 2016.
In a statement, Public Health Minister Jane Ellison said that the UK government backs the public health case for introducing the policy. Ministers in the Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will need to confirm whether they consent to the regulations applying to those parts of the UK.
"Having considered all the evidence, the Secretary of State and I believe that the policy is a proportionate and justified response to the considerable public health harm from smoking tobacco," she said. "The Chief Medical Officer has confirmed this view.
"I now propose that we lay regulations for standardised packaging in this parliament to allow for them to come into force at the same time as the European Tobacco Products Directive in May 2016. In doing so we would be bringing the prospect of our first smoke-free generation one step closer."
In response, tobacco firm Imperial Tobacco said that it was "very surprised and disappointed by the Government’s decision to rush ahead with plain packaging legislation.
"After two years of the failed experiment in Australia there remains no credible evidence that plain packaging is having any impact on tobacco consumption rates. Illicit trade, however, has increased significantly."
© 2015 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones