Lansley proud of plain packaging consultation

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Retailers will be asked to explain their links to the tobacco industry when responding to the government’s consultation on plain packaging, due to be published imminently.

Speaking at the Royal College of Physicians’ tobacco conference, health secretary Andrew Lansley said he was proud that the UK would be the first in Europe to consult on it.

“Being the first will give us a great chance to shape policy. Everyone will be able to respond to the consultation, including manufacturers and retailers, but everyone who responds will be asked about their links with the tobacco industry,” he continued.

“We won’t be engaging with manufacturers on this as we don’t have any common ground. Tobacco is not like alcohol. There is no responsible level of tobacco consumption. There are no two ways about it - smoking kills and we have to reduce it.”

The consultation on plain packaging would form part of a multi-faceted plan to reduce smoking rates in 2012, starting with a tobacco display ban in large stores on April 6, and further tobacco tax increases, with a focus on Roll Your Own products, set to be announced in the Budget, he added.

Claims by UK tobacco manufacturers that plain packaging will boost the illicit trade were scorned by speakers.

“The argument simply doesn’t make sense,” Luk Joossens, advocacy officer for the ECL foundation against cancer said. “Anything that can be seen can be counterfeited, which is why focusing on the things that cannot be seen, such as invisible ink and holograms, will be key.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • Brands are protected by law once registered and is one of the conerstone of any free market economy. Now, will the government introduce a special legislation asking the tobacco manufaturers to surrender their brands without compensation eg. Marlborough, once plain packaging is legally in place? or am I barking up the wrong tree ? just a thought ......

    Arjan Mehr - Londis Bracknell

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  • Lansley's bigoted mind is already made up. It's a shame he doesn't lay the same ground rules for those political lobby groups, posing as charities, that have links to Huge Pharmaceutical companies - direct competitors with Big Tobacco to supply smokers with nicotine. Lifelong smokers and just about everyone else knows this is not about saving the children but a cynical political anti-tobacco move that will damage the economy and impose draconian legislation worthy of the former Eastern European Communist Block. Trade marks and consumer protection apply to other goods and services by law and they should also apply to tobacco consumers, manufacturers and retailers. Lansley's consultation is a scam. He's not listening to anyone who doesn't agree with him.

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