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MPs Vote on Plain Packaging on No Smoking Day

March 11, 2015
Public Health

cigarette packThis year’s National No Smoking Day could also be remembered as the day MPs voted to introduce plain packaging.

Today’s free vote in the House of Commons to bring into force powers contained in the Children and Families Act 2014 is expected to go in favour of standardised packaging, with measures to be introduced next year. The move follows approval at the committee stage earlier this week, and as it is not primary legislation there will be no further debate.

Cancer Research UK’s Alison Cox is delighted that the proposal, which was first made in 2011, has finally being introduced. She told the Daily Mail, “The public health community has been united in calling for the introduction of plain, standardised packaging of tobacco products across the UK. The growing weight of peer-reviewed evidence that standard packs reduce the appeal of smoking to children has crushed tobacco company counter-claims.”

Despite regular campaigns including Stoptober, there are still an estimated 10 million adults and 200,000 children who smoke in the UK. Plain packaging was introduced in Australia in 2012 and has proved particularly successful in deterring children from taking up the habit. Earlier this month the Republic of Ireland became the second country to vote in favour of the introduction of plain packaging. The first part of the scheme will see a ban on the production of branded tobacco products for the Irish market from May 2016.