Major victory for public health: MPs vote to introduce standardised cigarette packs on 20th May 2016

Wednesday 11 March 2015

ASH congratulates the MPs who have today demonstrated overwhelming support for standardised tobacco packaging – a measure that will protect children and save lives. 367 MPs voted in favour of the measure with just 113 against, despite intense lobbying by the tobacco industry to sway politicians against the measure. [1] Standardised (“plain”) packaging will be introduced at the same time as the EU Tobacco Products Directive measures on packaging and labelling, increasing the size of the health warnings to 65% of the pack and putting picture warnings on the front of all packs, on 20th May 2016. [2]

The move to prevent cigarettes being sold in glitzy packaging will help protect the next generation of children and young people from starting to smoke. Two thirds of current smokers started when children, and half all lifetime smokers will die from smoking related disease. [3]

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of health charity ASH said:

“The Government, and MPs from all parties, are to be congratulated for resisting the bully-boy tactics and misinformation of the tobacco industry and for implementing the most important public health reform of this Parliament.”


Notes and Links:
[1] Following the vote in the Commons the regulations will now pass to the House of Lords. A vote in the Lords is expected to take place next week. If passed, the regulations are expected to take effect from May 2016.

Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015

An image of what a standardised cigarette pack might look like is included in Appendix C of the Government’s consultation document:

[2] The EU Tobacco Products Directive.

The Introduction of standardised packaging for tobacco. (Impact Assessment) HMRC 12 Feb. 2015

[3] See Smoking Statistics, Action on Smoking and Health, January 2015

Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. For more information see: ASH receives core funding from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.
Contact: Deborah Arnott 020 7404 0242 (w) or 07976 935 987 (m)