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."
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."