The government’s UK-wide consultation on plain tobacco packaging has been launched.

Retailers have until July 10 to tell the government if they think that tobacco packaging should remain unchanged, or plain packaging should be adopted, or if a different option should be considered.

They will also have the opportunity to explain the likely impact that plain standardised packaging would have on their businesses, and on the illicit trade.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said that a decision would only be taken after full consideration of the consultation responses, evidence, and other relevant information.

“Smoking remains one of the most significant challenges to public health. Each year it accounts for over 100,000 deaths in the UK and one in two long-term smokers will die prematurely from a smoking disease,” he said.

“That is why the health ministers across the UK have a responsibility to look closely at initiatives that might encourage smokers to quit and stop young people taking up smoking in the first place.”

The consultation document, which can be seen online, proposes that:

  • All internal and external packaging be in a prescribed colour
  • All text on the pack, including brand names, be in a standard colour and typeface.
  • No branding, advertising or promotion to be permitted on the outside or inside of packs, or attached to the package, or on individual tobacco products themselves.
  • Any foils within a pack be of a standard format and colour with no text permitted.
  • Packs be of a standard shape and opening, and possibly manufactured with particular materials.
  • In addition, only the following information would be permitted on packs:  brand name, product name, the quantity of product in the packaging, the name and contact details of the manufacturer, one barcode and current health warnings.
  • Fraud prevention features not visible to the naked eye would also be required.

Visit to read and respond to the consultation.