UK Government does U-turn on Tobacco labelling

 The majority of the British public are celebrating the Government’s unexpected U-turn regarding a possible proposal to introduce the standardisation of cigarette packaging. 

So far the only other country to have done this is Australia, with both Scotland and the Republic of Ireland preparing to make the change. The standardisation of cigarette packaging would see the glossy, attractive packets replaced by plain box. The tobacco industry uses it’s packaging as a marketing tool, with many young children drawn into smoking because of this appeal. 

Our government has however dragged their feet over the issue, with the tobacco industry believing such a move would not happen after the initial proposal was rejected. It’s thought that the fear of legal action from tobacco companies was the reason behind this and so they have commissioned an independent review to provide evidence supporting their decision. 

Australia believe that packaging change has impacted on smokers with those hooked on the habit now considering quitting. Many healthcare experts and anti-smoking campaigners have been lobbying the Government to introduce legislation for standardised cigarette packaging as they are faced with the growing concern of youngsters still being drawn to smoking. 

Sir Cyril Chantler is carrying out the independent review on behalf of the Government, he is the Chairman of University College London Partners and non-executive Chairman of the Quality and Clinical Risk Committee of NHS England. He’s main aim is to establish whether or not it’s true that the attractive look of a cigarette package is a reason for smoking, he’ll be especially focusing on those smoking during adolescence. 

The report is set to be finalised by March 2014 and the findings will be the basis of the Government’s final decision on the matter. The review will look at why two-thirds of smokers take up smoking up as children and assess public health in general to support its findings. 

The Government wants to make sure that they are definitely making the right decision, as any legislation brought in to enforce standardised cigarette labelling will most definitely not be welcomed by the tobacco industry, making this a necessary step before further consideration is made.