Branded tobacco packs in balance as consultation ends

Health organisations are today hoping their efforts have been enough to persuade the Government to introduce plain packaging for cigarette packs.

TobaccoPic

The consultation on Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s proposals that would force cigarette brands to remove logos and colours on packaging ends today (10 August).

Cancer Research claims it gathered over 80,000 signatures on its petition calling for a total plain packaging introduction, launched partly in response to an advertising campaign making the case to maintain branded packs by Silk Cut and Camel owner Japan Tobacco International (JTI).

JTI’s campaign used newspaper ads and seminars to persuade ‘decision makers’ that the move would boost the illicit tobacco trade, and have a knock-on effect on manufacturers of products like alcohol and fast food.

It is unlikely the Government will make a decision on whether to follow Australia in forcing tobacco manufacturers to introduce plain packaging until around Christmas time, according to those close to the matter.

Cancer Research’s tobacco policy manager Robin Hewings says he feels the campaign for plain packaging has a ‘worthwhile’ chance and is confident of the evidence base.

However, he adds the tobacco industry has “financial resources we can’t match” when it comes to marketing and campaigning.

The charity’s campaign has been run as part of a coalition effort of nearly 200 health organisations who say that research shows that putting cigarettes in plain packs makes them less attractive to children.

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