The U.K. government plans to outlaw branded tobacco packaging as early as next year, following a report that showed it could lead to a modest reduction in smoking uptake among children.
There’s no reason that legislation cannot be introduced before the next General Election, due to be held by May 2015, Health Minister Jane Ellison said when introducing the findings of a plain packaging review by pediatrician Cyril Chantler.
Such a move would bring the U.K. into line with Australia, where all cigarette packages have been sold in uniform packages since Dec. 1, 2012. The governments of Ireland, Scotland and New Zealand are also proposing to ban branded packs, while European authorities are taking a tougher stance. On Feb. 26, the European Parliament voted to require that cigarette packs feature a combined pictorial and text alert covering 65 percent of the front and back, and banned cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco with characterizing flavors including menthol.