Cigarettes to have no packaging?


The government are considering brown paper wrappers for cigarettes, which presumably will make them 'less cool'. Health secretary Andrew Lansley is looking into the idea.

"We have to try new approaches and take decisions to benefit the population. That's why I want to look at the idea of plain packaging," he said.

"The evidence is clear that packaging helps to recruit smokers, so it makes sense to consider having less attractive packaging. It's wrong that children are being attracted to smoke by glitzy designs on packets."

Glitzy? Really?

Lansley has previously hit out against nannying of the state, but seemingly doesn't think this applies to smoking. In the past, he's attacked Jamie Oliver for his healthy eating campaign.

"We are very pleased that the health secretary supports the plain packaging of cigarettes. There is clear evidence that young people find packaging appealing," a British Medical Association (BMA) spokesman said. "And we know that the tobacco industry spends huge amounts on this clever marketing to enhance their brands and increase sales."

Of course, the Tories opposed Gordon Brown's efforts to introduce plain packaging, but now, they seem to think it might be a good idea. Of course, tobacco manufacturers aren't going to take this lying down and have warned of a legal battle if this were to go ahead.

"Whilst there are currently no specific government proposals for plain tobacco packaging, the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association is strongly opposed to the principle and would expect a genuine consultation and regulatory impact assessment if the government decides to pursue this further," said the Tobacco Manufacturer's Association (TMA) chief executive, Christopher Ogden.

"The TMA does not believe any plans for plain packaging are based on sound public policy, nor any compelling evidence. Moves to prevent tobacco companies from exercising their intellectual property rights would place the government in breach of legal obligations relating to intellectual property, international trade and European law."



  • Deepz
    I went to India about two years back and there was some great innovation from some of the locals there. They would buy packs of cigarettes and sell them of individually to people who could not afford to smoke. They made a lot of money from this, and there were these stands outside work offices. Just an example of where the packaging was not important - some people just need a quick fix.
  • Boris F.
    That's not invoation Deepz - that's standard practice for the last 100 years in schools. You can easily make triple money; ask any of the dealers near your local secodary modern. Caution: Do not appraoch minors near school looking for a 'fag deal'.
  • a n.
    What is plain packaging? If it is comlpetely plain, how do you know what brand you are getting? The local corner shop could easily make up their own packs, putting any old shit in them, or pass off cheap / no duty packs as something better. If there is text on the packet, will it be standardised font and size, so every pack looks like every other apart from the brand name?
  • -]
    What boris said - nothing innovative at all - the ice cream van that parked outside my school used to sell "seppies" (as in seperates) for 10pence each, back when cigs cost just over £1 for 20. You could only get them at lunch time when he was parked outside, so if you had any spare cigs on you, you would sell them for 20-50p each. nutter - it won't be completely plain, it will be plain with the brand printed on it. The same checks that are in place to stop shops selling imports will still be in place.
  • Timbo
    Nutter you are right. I work as maintenance in a factory that makes cigarette packaging. The printing and embossing are the highest quality you can get in printing. The standards are extremely high. The reason this is done? To help to easily identity counterfeit ones! I can spot a fake pack a mile off! Plain brown packages will be so easy to fake, that will loose government and fortune. No counterfeit manufacturer can afford the 5million pound machines needed!
  • Package T.
    Yeah, never mind the Trading Standards Officers who visit premises checking for fakes, they'll be easily fooled. Only a printer would know the difference. People sell fakes in shops now, and are caught. People will sell fakes in plain packaging, and will be caught. People sell imports in shops, and are caught. The only people who may lose anything are the tobacco companies - they may lose underage customers.
  • Kevin
    If they actually give a damn then just ban them. I know it's not that simple (tax. business etc) but if they are going on the health side, just ban them! I do wonder what the % of people who smoke is in the UK. If it's under 50% then there could be a vote ;)
  • Noghar
    This is such bollocks! Hasn't anyone in the government noticed that cigarettes today come in packets with photographs of cancerous goitres, diseased lungs etc? How the heck is brown paper packaging going to be LESS attractive? It's never going to happen anyway, it's just another wanky bit of marketing puff designed to make the government look busy. The whole idea will be dropped in a week or two.
  • -]
    Kevin it is around 20%. I'm one of those 20%, and in support of this measure.
  • Stu
    As someone who started smoking as a 13 year old (and only quit after 23 years), I can honestly say that it had absolutely NOTHING to do with the packaging. In fact, I used to smoke Spar's own brand for ages because that's all I could afford (99p for 20 when B&H were £1.30). The people who are trying to make these laws are on crack. The one thing I did learn, however, very quickly was that the only people that are impressed by smoking are other smokers. For some reason, I chose to ignore that. Plain packaging is about as helpful as having unbranded lighters.
  • Roy C.
    I thought I was addicted to the nicotine but it turns out I'm addicted to bright colours.
  • ElectronicCigFan
    Surely price is more important than packaging in deterring people from smoking?

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