Cigarettes plain packet review

The Government has announced a review of cigarette packaging in England.

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Labour: Packets delay will see 70,000 take up smoking

Labour says that 70,000 people will take up smoking between now and March when the results of an independent review into the matter are assessed by the Government.

Labour says delaying Credit: PA

Speaking following the announcement of the review, Shadow Health Minister Lucian Berger questioned what further evidence the Government needs before bringing in the legislation.

"79,230 will have taken up smoking in the 139 days since the Government U-turned on standardised packaging in July and around 70,000 more will have had their first cigarette by the time the review reports in March next year," she said. "We should be legislating now, not delaying."

Cigarette packets: Independent review before action

The Government has not yet committed to the introduction of plain cigarette packaging, announcing an independent review, to be undertaken by Sir Cyril Chantler, which it will assess in March 2014.

Labour's Luciana Berger branded the review a 'U-turn on a U-turn' Credit: PA

New laws banning branding on cigarette packets will then be introduced if the report finds sufficient evidence to support it, the Government said.

Health Minister Jane Ellison said: "I believe the time is right to seek an independent view on whether the introduction of standardised packaging is likely to have an effect on public health. In particular, I want to know about the likely impact on young people."

However, Shadow Health Minister Luciana Berger told the BBC the further delay was "a U-turn on a U-turn".

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Think tank: Treat adults like adults over cigarettes

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) said the Government's move to introduce plain packaging on cigarettes as "very disappointing" and called on "education rather than even heavier regulation of a legal product enjoyed by millions of ordinary consumers."

The IEA: In the words of David Cameron, let's treat adults like adults
The IEA: In the words of David Cameron, let's treat adults like adults Credit: PA

Mark Littlewood, IEA director general said: "Plain packaging will have a negligible impact on health, will boost the black market, and do enormous harm to small businesses.

"In the words of David Cameron, let's treat adults like adults and give them more responsibility over their own lives."

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Labour: Government pushed around by tobacco lobby

Labour leader Ed Miliband said today that the Government had been "pushed around" by the tobacco lobby.

The Government should have legislated on plain packaging earlier this year and they didn't because they were pushed around by the tobacco lobby, now they've changed their mind because they feared a Parliamentary defeat yet even now they offer dither and delay.

I think the British people deserve more than a Government that is just buffeted around by events day after day.

– Ed Miliband

Read: Cigarette packaging through the ages

Government denies plain packet move is a 'u-turn'

The Government has denied that it ruled out the introduction of plain cigarette packaging in the summer, and described Labour as "miserable" for suggesting the move was made in a bid to avoid a defeat in the Lords, where a vote on the issue is due shortly.

Read: Cigarette packaging through the ages

What the Government said in July was that it would look at the emerging evidence from Australia and elsewhere.

We have listened hard to what both houses of Parliament have said over recent weeks, where it's been very clear that members in both the House of Lords and House of Commons feel that there is not just emerging evidence in Australia but other studies.

– Health minister Jane Ellison

Read: Cigarette packaging: A U-turn on a U-turn?

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