Government consultation on putting tobacco in plain packs

Thursday 15 December 2011

The Government has announced today that the public consultation on tobacco packaging that was due to take place by the end of this year has been put back to Spring 2012. Although the delay is disappointing, ASH is pleased that the Department of Health is working hard to ensure that the consultation will be a success and that the consultation will be UK wide.

Putting tobacco products in plain packaging is essential because once tobacco is out of sight in shops tobacco packs will be the last remaining promotional tool for the tobacco industry. Also there is good evidence that plain, standardised packs are:

  •  less attractive, particularly to young people;
  •  make the health warnings stand out more; and
  •  reduce the ability of the packaging to mislead consumers about the harms of smoking.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH said:

“Although it’s disappointing that the end of year deadline has been missed we’re pleased that the Government is taking seriously its commitment on plain packaging.

We urge the Government to ensure that the UK remains on track to be the first country in Europe to put tobacco in plain packs by launching the consultation no later than Spring 2012, followed by legislation for implementation by the end of this Parliament.”
[1] Tobacco control legislation. Written Ministerial Statement, Dept of Health, 15 December 2011
[2] Healthy Lives, Healthy People: A Tobacco Control Plan for England. March 2011
[3] For further information on the case for tobacco plain packaging see: the Smokefree Action Coalition Briefing
[4] Australia will be the first country in the world to require plain, standardised packaging for all tobacco products from December 2012. See Australian Government notice: