Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is considering the switch to a standard colour to try and make cigarettes less attractive to young people.
In addition, the Government plans to ask retailers to cover displays of cigarettes.
Lansley says: “We have to try new approaches and take decisions to benefit the population. That’s why I want to look at the idea of plain packaging. The evidence is clear that packaging helps to recruit smokers, so it makes sense to consider having less attractive packaging.”
Such a move is likely to prompt a challenge from the tobacco industry.
Brand logos and packaging are the last marketing avenues available to cigarette brands following the blanket ban on cigarette advertising in 2003.
Anti-smoking bodies, however, welcomed the potential switch to plain packaging with Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) calling on Lansley to set a date for the packaging change immediately.
A move to ban brand names, logos and graphics from cigarette packaging is not unprecedented. Australia is planning to introduce plain packaging by 2012.