Health campaigners welcome move to plain cigs packs

UNDER WRAPS: Cigarettes could be sold in plain packaging. Below, Lisa Surtees.

UNDER WRAPS: Cigarettes could be sold in plain packaging. Below, Lisa Surtees.

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A HEALTH campaigning group is welcoming a Government move to remove glossy branding from cigarette packets.

Minister for Public Health Jane Ellison revealed in the House of Commons there will be a free vote on tobacco packaging before the next election.

Lisa Surtees from Fresh

Lisa Surtees from Fresh

Fresh, which campaigns on health issues in the North East, says plain packaging will discourage children from smoking.

“We are delighted the Government will give MPs the chance to make the lure of cigarette packs history for more children,” said Fresh acting director Lisa Surtees.

“There is such strong evidence that standardised packs would help make cigarette packs less attractive, especially to children and young people.

“We showed young people in the North East examples of standardised packs, and they thought they were much less tempting and less glamorous.”

Cancer Research UK and the British Lung Foundation both welcomed the move.

But not everyone is in favour of plain packaging.

“This is a gross infringement of the right of companies to use their trademarks and design their own packaging,” said Christopher Snowdon, director of lifestyle economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Jonathan Isaby of the Taxpayers’ Alliance said plain packs could make it easier for cigarette smugglers.

But Simon Clark, director of smokers’ rights group Forest, accused the Government of playing politics.

“This decision has nothing to do with health,” he said “It is politics, pure and simple.”