Taking action on smoking and health
News Release: FOR IMMEDIATE USE 26 June 2014
Child protection measure needs strong, speedy implementation
The Westminster Government has today (26th June) published draft regulations to introduce plain, standardised packaging for tobacco products across the UK. The move follows a long and rancorous campaign which pitted a strong and united public health lobby against persistent opposition from tobacco companies willing to spend millions of pounds to prevent the measure. The policy of removing the branding and logos from tobacco packaging, to make it less attractive, was first introduced in Australia in December 2012. The impact of the measure has been the subject of fierce debate – tobacco industry claims that tobacco sales and the illicit market have increased have been undermined by official figures and statements showing the opposite.
The UK is one of several countries, including Ireland, France and New Zealand, looking to follow Australia’s lead. The Scottish Government made an early commitment to support plain packs, vowing to introduce the measure if Westminster did not.
The detail of the regulations will now be the subject of a six-week consultation period, with the expectation that the measure will be finalised and agreed before next year’s Westminster elections. Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of health campaign ASH Scotland, said:
“After a long and hard campaign the publication of detailed regulations for plain packs represents a bloody nose for the tobacco industry, the campaign front groups they have funded and the retail interests who have worked with them.
“The vast majority of smokers started as teenagers. We need strong plain packaging regulations to be implemented swiftly – because every day roughly 40 young Scots become smokers.
“Tobacco companies oppose plain packs for the same reason that we support them, because they understand that reducing the appeal of tobacco will mean fewer of our children starting to smoke. That is something we should all welcome.”
For further information, or to arrange an interview with Sheila Duffy, please contact John Watson on 0131 220 9468 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Action on Smoking & Health (Scotland) (ASH Scotland) is a registered Scottish charity (SC 010412) and a company limited by guarantee(Scottish company no 141711). The registered office is 8 Frederick Street, Edinburgh EH2 2HB.
ASH Scotland acknowledges with thanks the support of the British Heart Foundation and the Scottish Government in developing our website.