ASH Daily news for 22 January 2015



  • UK to introduce standardised cigarette packaging before next election
  • Parliamentary News: Legislation for standardised packaging
  • Ban on smoking in cars with children from October 1
  • Northern Ireland: Gallaher cigarette factory owner rejects union proposal to save 500 jobs
  • US: Attorney General wants to raise Washington smoking age to 21
  • Standardised Packaging: how twitter reacted

    UK to introduce standardised cigarette packaging before next election

    The government has announced that it will press ahead with legislation on standardised packaging for cigarettes before the general election.

    The announcement was made by the public health minister, Jane Ellison. She said the current “comprehensive” approach was working well, but insisted it was important not to be complacent. In an unusual move, she said regulations enforcing standardised packaging would be laid before parliament in time to be agreed by both Houses before the general election in May.

    Ann McKechin, the Labour MP who forced a debate on the issue in the Commons, said: “In Australia, where plain packaging legislation was introduced in 2012 and generic packaging before that, smoking rates have fallen dramatically. Daily smoking levels are at a historic low of 12.8%, and the average number of cigarettes smoked is now just 96 per week compared to 111 in 2010.

    “Seventy-five per cent of potential Conservative, 75 per cent of Labour, 80 per cent of Liberal Democrat and 64 per cent of UKIP voters all said they backed making tobacco packs plain.”

    Deborah Arnott, chief executive of the health charity Ash, said: “We won’t be taking anything for granted in the run-up to the final vote. If the regulations do become law this will be the most important public health reform of this parliament.”


    ASH press releases
    BBC News: Cigarette package law to be voted on by MPs before election
    Daily Mail: Plain cigarette packet law to be passed BEFORE the election to stop new generation of smokers
    Daily Mirror: Branded cigarette packets WILL be banned from 2016
    Express: Plain packaging for cigarettes by 2016
    Financial Times: Plain cigarette packaging plans brought forward
    ITV: Pledge on cigarette packaging law
    Sky News: Plain cigarette packaging law brought forward
    The Telegraph: Plain cigarette packaging plans brought forward
    The Times: Cigarettes will be sold in plain packaging from next spring
    BBC Radio 4: The Today Programme John Britton discusses standardised packaging

    Source: Guardian, 22 January 2015

    Parliamentary News: Legislation for standardised packaging

    Extract from Parliamentary debate on standardised packaging. Jane Ellison MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health said:

    “The Government are completely committed to protecting children from the harm that tobacco causes. That is why I am announcing today that we will be bringing forward legislation for standardised packaging before the end of this Parliament. A consultant respiratory physician told me last year that he is confident that the introduction of standardised packaging will end up saving more lives than he would be able to in his entire career.

    I thank all the people who have campaigned for this policy and all those who have contributed to the consultations—the 2012 consultation and the 2014 consultation. I hope that the thousands of other clinicians who have written to me, and to colleagues, over the past weeks and months will welcome this important progress. I want to reassure the House that I will provide further details about the introduction of the policy in due course.”

    Source: Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 21 January 2015, c342)

    Ban on smoking in cars with children from October 1

    Smoking in cars carrying children will be banned from October 1 2015 if signed off by Parliament, Health Minister Jane Ellison announced as she outlined the Government’s standardised packaging legislation.

    Source:, 21 January 2015

    Northern Ireland: Gallaher cigarette factory owner rejects union proposal to save 500 jobs

    Tobacco firm JTI will close a plant in Ballymena, Northern Ireland in 2017. The announcement comes after JTI rejected trade union Unite’s proposals to save jobs at the plant.

    Jimmy Kelly, Unite’s regional secretary said: “JTI rejected our counter-proposal as they have a strategic long-term goal of shifting employment from western to eastern Europe. This decision is an extreme case of ‘social dumping’ where employers seek to minimise costs through chasing lower-cost alternatives.”

    Source: The Guardian, 21 January 2015

    US: Attorney General wants to raise Washington smoking age to 21

    The Attorney General for Washington State, Bob Ferguson has announced plans to ban tobacco use for everyone under the age of 21.

    Ferguson and lawmakers from the state House and Senate said that bills to raise the state’s smoking age from 18 to match the legal ages for consuming alcohol and marijuana were inspired by the effectiveness of smoking bans in several cities nationwide.

    Source: Washington Times, 21 January 2015

    Standardised Packaging: how twitter reacted

    Cancer Research UK @CR_UK 

    Great news, the gov’t is taking the next step on standard cig packs & one step closer to ending the #packetracket

    BHF @TheBHF
    Breaking news as the Government announces regulations on standardised tobacco packaging will be put to vote before the general election.

    FPH ‏@FPH
    MT @itvnews: Standardised plain packaging for tobacco will become law before this parliament ends: …” -> great news

    Jeremy Hunt ‏@Jeremy_Hunt
    Plain packaging has potential to save thousands of lives; this Gov is pressing ahead with it for the sake of the next generation’s health

    Barry Sheerman MP @BarrySheerman
    Plain cigarette packaging on the way! Surely a step forward for health! @BBCr4today

    Stephen Williams MP @swilliamsmp
    Glad we’ve final confirmation that Coalition Government proceeding with standardised packaging of cigarettes & pleased to have played a part

    Paul Burstow MP ‏@PaulBurstow
    Great news. Minister confirms Govt will introduce standardised packaging of cigarettes in this Parliament.

    Sarah Wollaston MP Verified account @drwollastonmp
    Great news from @JaneEllison on Standard cigarette Packaging