- 14 updates
The UK government is "putting business interests in front of public health", the man instrumental in bringing about cigarette packaging reforms in Australia said today.
Simon Chapman, a professor of public health at the University of Sydney told BBC Radio 4's World At One programme:
The public is 'split down' on the issue of cigarette packaging, the Chancellor said today after the Government's decision to shelve the plans.
George Osborne said: "We have got to get this decision right. We have consulted on whether we have standardised packaging for cigarettes.
"This is something that has only been done in Australia and very recently. We are going to take our time to look at the results of what happened in Australia and when we consulted the public there were a huge number of responses but they were pretty split down the middle.
"So I think it's right that we take our time and get the right decision."
Downing Street has insisted that Conservatives' election strategist Lynton Crosby was not involved in the decision to put plain cigarette packaging on hold and had not lobbied David Cameron on the issue. A Number 10 spokesman said:
The Government has caved in to big tobacco businesses by postponing a decision to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes, shadow health minister Diane Abbott said today.
Ms Abbott said the Government had made a "humiliating U-turn", as she asked health minister Anna Soubry whether Tory strategist Lynton Crosby had anything to do with the decision.
Ms Soubry said the Government had not yet made a final decision on whether to introduce plain packaging, telling the House of Commons that ministers would wait and see the effect of the policy in Australia. Ms Abbott said:
"Every single medical stakeholder, every campaigner on tobacco harm, and every member of the public who is concerned...will be appalled at this decision because it bears no relationship to the evidence and people will die."
The Government's decision to shelve plans to introduce plain cigarette packaging is "bewildering", British Lung Foundation chief executive Dr Penny Woods said today.
Dr Woods said:
Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston, a GP who is strongly in favour of plain packaging, has condemned the Government's decision to shelve plans for plain cigarette packaging.
The Government wants to see how plain cigarette packaging recently introduced in Australia works before deciding whether to go ahead in England, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said today.
"Having carefully considered these differing views, the Government has decided to wait until the emerging impact of the decision in Australia can be measured before we make a final decision on this policy in England," he said in a Commons written statement.
Pro-smoking campaigners have they are "delighted" the government has abandoned moves to introduce plain packaging for tobacco in the UK.
Hands Off Our Packs campaigner Angela Harbutt said: "We are delighted. The government conducted a public consultation on plain packaging in 2012 and half a million people opposed the measure.
"Ministers have listened to ordinary people. This is good news for those who believe in consumer freedom and are opposed to excessive regulation".
Shadow public health minister Dianne Abbott has been granted an urgent question session after the Government's decision to shelve plain cigarette packaging.
Latest ITV News reports
Campaigners reacted with fury after it emerged ministers have postponed a decision on the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes.