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Government opens consultation on plain packaging of tobacco

Thu 26th June, 2014

Campaigners have urged the government to keep an "open mind" on plain packaging of tobacco following the announcement of a consultation on draft regulations.

Simon Clark, director of the smokers' group Forest which runs the Hands Off Our Packs campaign, said:

"Plain packaging is another step towards the infantilisation of Britain.

"If the consultation is to have any meaning ministers must keep an open mind.

"The impact of plain packaging on retailers and consumers could be extremely damaging.

"Evidence suggests that standardised packaging could lead to the UK being flooded with fake cigarettes.

"A decision to introduce plain packaging must be based on hard evidence that the policy will stop children smoking. 

"Conjecture and subjective opinion are not enough when the risks are so high."
Clark said government should also take into account a previous consultation that attracted over 650,000 responses, with over 425,000 people opposed to plain packaging and 238,000 in favour.

He added:
"In recent weeks thousands of people have signed a letter to the prime minister urging him to say no to plain packaging.

"If we live in a democracy the government must take into account the strongly held views of ordinary consumers."
Clark urged retailers to support Forest's No, Prime Minister campaign.

"Via our website you can write direct to Downing Street and express your opposition to plain packaging. It takes no more than a minute of your time.

For further comment: Simon Clark 07774 781840

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