Having listened to health campaigners, the British public and the global evidence, the charity is delighted that the Government is now set on the right path towards regulations that will introduce standardised packaging.
An independent review of the evidence and the introduction of the necessary regulations to remove the brightly coloured packaging could allow the roll out of the standard packs before the next election.
There are more than 7 million UK smokers who started smoking before the age of 18. Half of all long term smokers will be killed by their lethal addiction. 100,000 people die of a smoking-related illness every year in the UK.
Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “Stopping cigarettes being marketed to children as a glamorous and desirable accessory is one of the greatest gifts we can give the next generation.
“Tobacco is a unique product. It is the only consumable that, when used in the way the manufacturer intends, kills half of its users. Allowing marketing practices that promote this is simply wrong – especially when the result is millions of children being lured in to an addiction that results in death and chronic health problems.
“This government’s stated intention to bring in standardised packaging of tobacco shows great leadership. If this becomes law next year there is no question that it will save thousands of lives in the future.”
The standardised packaging amendment introduced by a cross party group of Lords to the Children and Families Bill has helped to marshal support for the issue and demonstrates this is not a party political issue.
Evidence of the effectiveness of plain, standardised packaging has continued to build over the last two years – since the public consultation on tobacco packaging first launched.
Australia overcame fierce tobacco industry opposition to introduce standardised packaging a year ago. Throughout this time health campaigners have urged the UK to follow the Australian example as soon possible.
Selling cigarettes in standardised packs makes smoking less appealing and encourages smokers to quit. When cigarettes are not disguised by flashy packaging and carefully crafted designs, smokers see them for what they are – a lethal product which kills half of its long term users.
85 per cent of the British public want Government action to reduce the number of children who smoke.
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