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Plain Packs and Minimum Alcohol Pricing Still on Hold

July 15, 2013
Public Health

The government has angered Public Health Professionals by continuing to delay decisions on plain cigarette packaging and minimum alcohol pricing. Whitehall has said any decision will be put back until ministers can study the results of similar action in Australia which was the first country to introduce plain packaging in December 2012. The Australian scheme makes it compulsory to sell cigarettes in olive green packets without logos which carry graphic images warning of the consequences of smoking. The packets do contain the name of the brand in small print at the bottom of the box.

Figures show that around 200,000 children aged between 11 and 15 start smoking in the UK each year, a statistic that Sarah Woolnough, Cancer Research UK?s Executive Director of Policy and Information, says is totally unacceptable.?With such a large number of youngsters starting to smoke every year, urgent action is needed to tackle the devastation caused by tobacco. Replacing slick, brightly coloured packs that appeal to children with standard packs displaying prominent health warnings, is a vital part of efforts to protect health.?

In another move expected to further disappoint Public Health campaigners, Home Secretary Theresa May will tell MPs next week that plans to introduce minimum alcohol pricing are to be dropped. An alternative scheme which will ban alcohol sales below cost price in so called ?lost leader? deals will be proposed in its place. Earlier this year Health Minister Anna Soubry said imposing minimum pricing would seem like a ?big bossy government cracking down on people who don?t have a problem.??

Photo by graphic designer Trickartt – ?http://trickartt.com/notes/2011/01/on-the-packaging-of-cigarettes/

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