MPs to vote on plain cigarette packaging
From 2016, it looks like cigarettes will be sold in plain, standardised packets. MPs are voting on the proposal, however, around 100 Tory backbenchers are looking at voting against it, with some saying that the very notion of this is "unConservative."
The Department of Health plans to get packets that feature only the brand name and a graphic warning image and is supported by Labour and the LibDems. Will it make a blind bit of difference? Will it just mean people start buying fancy cigarette cases so they can house their fags in something that doesn't have some organs on the front?
It seems strange that packaging is seen as the answer, given that the current boxes already feature blown-out lungs and people on morticians' slabs. No-one kids themselves that smoking is anything but bad for you, so new plain packaging isn't likely to do much.
Business lobbying group, the CBI, aren't happy at all and the group's director general - John Cridland - said: "We have concerns about the impact of introducing a plain packaging policy for cigarettes on the UK's global reputation for IP," while Nick De Bois, the Tory MP for Enfield North, said Cridland's comments were "very welcome and spot on".
"The Government has turned a deaf ear to the question of intellectual property rights, and they have done so at their peril," he added; "Not just to the cost to the public purse if legal action is successful, but to Britain’s reputation as the commercial centre of the world."
To add to the government's headache, some of the biggest tobacco companies in the world are weighing up whether or not they're going to take legal action against them... and as we all know, tobacco companies are rich and wily. This is going to rumble on, indeed.