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Government to "consult" on packaging

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has today confirmed that the Government will publish a "consultation on the packaging on tobacco products in spring 2012".

The written ministerial statement is not unexpected. In fact, we've been anticipating an announcement for some time.

ASH has responded as follows:

The Government has announced today that the public consultation on tobacco packaging that was due to take place by the end of this year has been put back to Spring 2012. Although the delay is disappointing, ASH is pleased that the Department of Health is working hard to ensure that the consultation will be a success and that the consultation will be UK wide.

Putting tobacco products in plain packaging is essential because once tobacco is out of sight in shops tobacco packs will be the last remaining promotional tool for the tobacco industry. Also there is good evidence that plain, standardised packs are:

– less attractive, particularly to young people;
– make the health warnings stand out more; and
– reduce the ability of the packaging to mislead consumers about the harms of smoking.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH said: “Although it’s disappointing that the end of year deadline has been missed we’re pleased that the Government is taking seriously its commitment on plain packaging.

"We urge the Government to ensure that the UK remains on track to be the first country in Europe to put tobacco in plain packs by launching the consultation no later than Spring 2012, followed by legislation for implementation by the end of this Parliament.”

Just how much of a "public" consultation this will be remains to be seen. Previous consultations on tobacco controls have barely registered with the general public. See How "public" consultations work (December 11, 2008).

This time, hopefully, things will be different (but we'll need your help).

Meanwhile we can look forward to this new website, an initiative (we believe) of the Smokefree Action Coalition.

Can't wait.

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Reader Comments (2)

Really? Consultation means just one thing - it makes it look as if Govt is listening when in reality it will do as ASH tells it to. Milton and Lansley are not impartial and they give one independent industry supplier of nicotine protection and business over its main competitor.

The health dept is corrupt and can't be trusted. Consultation only means there is more hate coming our way

Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 13:31 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

"...ASH is pleased that the Department of Health is working hard to ensure that the consultation will be a success..."

And that means...?

The results are pre-ordained. They will smugly wave their "vast majority agree with us" figures and go ahead. I don't know why they bother. The dice are so heavily loaded in their favour they might as well save themselves the cost.

Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 16:03 | Unregistered Commenternisakiman

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