Coloured packs are a threat to kids, says Lib Dem MP
Monday, January 16, 2012 at 18:35
Simon Clark

Get ready for an all out assault on cigarette packs.

Earlier today Stephen Williams, Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West and chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health, helped launch "Europe’s first major campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of glitzy tobacco packaging to children".

Writing on his blog, Williams (a close confidante of ASH's Deborah Arnott) declared:

The primary aim of the campaign to introduce plain packs of cigarettes will be to protect children and young people from the subtle marketing techniques of the brand owners ...

Plain packs would be the same size, same colour, same font for the product name and nothing else other than the health warning. The Silent Salesman would not just be mute, he’d look very dull and lonely.

Funny isn't it, that when campaigners demanded a ban on tobacco advertising and sponsorship in the Nineties, no-one thought to mention the humble cigarette pack.

There's a simple reason for that. Packaging is not advertising in the accepted sense of the word. Like many other forms of packaging, cigarette packs are designed so that consumers can distinguish between one brand and another and make their choice accordingly.

There is not a shred of evidence that 'plain' packaging will deter teenagers from smoking which is why anti-tobacco campaigners like Williams want to go even further and introduce not 'plain' packs but grotesque packs featuring larger graphic warnings, most of them disproportionate to the actual risk.

If Williams and his ilk get their way every pack will be be a uniform colour – not white or black but a colour that, they say, appeals least to smokers. (If they use Australia as a role model it will be drab green.)

Click here to read Williams' blog. You may wish to comment.

H/T Dave Atherton

See also: The hypocrisy of ASH, Stephen Williams and Peter Hain

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