I was in London today supervising the delivery of responses to the Department of Health consultation on plain packaging.
On Tuesday, as I reported here, we delivered to Downing Street over 53,000 letters addressed to the PM.
I can now reveal that in addition to those letters more than 100,000 people have signed the latest Hands Off Our Packs petition.
In total therefore more than 150,000 people have petitioned the Government against plain packs since junior health minister Jane Ellison announced in April that the Government was "minded" to introduce the policy.
Here's part of the press release:
A petition against plain packaging of tobacco has attracted more than 100,000 signatures and more than 50,000 people have personally written to the Prime Minister opposing the initiative.
Standardised packaging of tobacco is the subject of a final six-week consultation that closes on Thursday 7th August.
Simon Clark, director of the smokers' group Forest which runs the Hands Off Our Packs campaign, said: "The response demonstrates the enormous level of opposition to this ill-conceived measure. We urge the prime minister to think again.
"There’s no evidence standardised packaging will have any health benefits. Advocates base their arguments not on facts but on speculation.
"There must be no rush to legislation. It’s a huge step and no government should take it lightly ...
"Government has to get off people’s backs and trust the consumer to make informed choices without unnecessary and unwelcome state intervention."
Plain packaging for cigarettes could be the 'game changer' in seeing long-term reductions in smoking among young people, health officials have said.
Public Health England (PHE) said that the evidence for the benefits of introducing standardised packing for cigarettes and other tobacco products is now 'irrefutable'.
Full story, including a quote by Forest and a reference to our petition, is in today's Daily Mail and Mail Online.
The Daily Telegraph has the same story, again with a quote from Forest. Curiously it mentions the 50,000 letters to the PM but not the petition.
Guido Fawkes has an item about our petition (great photo!):
Pushy public health minister Jane Ellison is under pressure to take into consideration the 100,000 people who have signed a petition opposing plain packs, as well as the 50,000 who personally wrote to the Prime Minister rejecting the proposal.
The Grocer has this report:
Campaigners opposed to plain tobacco packaging have submitted more than 50,000 protest letters to the Prime Minister ...
And Convenience Store weighed in with this:
Thousands of independent retailers have responded to the government’s final short plain packaging consultation which closes at 11.45am today.
A petition against plain packaging was also submitted to the DoH by smokers group Forest.
If you haven't submitted a response to the consultation there's still time, just. You have until 11.45 tonight to make your voice here.
PS. Chris Snowdon has written a great post, Public Health England's self-lobbying.
If that doesn't inspire you to respond nothing will.