- 5 updates
David Cameron is "minded to go ahead" with introducing plain packaging for cigarettes before next May's general election, Downing St has said.
At a media briefing this afternoon, the Prime Minister's spokesman said:
"The first thing to do is publish the draft regulations. We do have to consult on those in detail, partly to deal with the risk of future charges. Subject to that, we will certainly consider whether that is possible.
"The Prime Minister is minded to go ahead with this, subject to the consultation on detailed regulations," he added.
The tobacco industry has attacked the Government over the decision to pave the way for plain packaging for cigarettes in England.
Several companies said a review by Sir Cyril Chantler saying plain packs could improve public health was flawed.
A spokesman for British American Tobacco, whose brands include Pall Mall and Lucky Strikes, said the idea the plan would improve public health "defies logic".
Japan International Tobacco, the makers of Camel and Silk Cut, also pointed out that David Cameron has said the proposals involved "considerable legal uncertainty".
ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship has been speaking to Sir Cyril Chantler, the author of a review that concluded that plain cigarette packaging could contribute to a "modest but important reduction" in smoking rates.
The government said it will press ahead with plans to force tobacco firms to sell cigarettes in plain packets which would "very likely" improve public health.
Draft regulations to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes are to be published following the Sir Cyril Chantler review, health minister Jane Ellison said.
Ms Ellison said a short consultation will follow and details of when the changes will take place will be announced shortly which drew cries of "shame" from some MPs.
She said she wanted to move forward as swiftly as possible, explaining: "I am currently minded to proceed with introducing regulations to provide for standardised packaging.
"However, in order to ensure that decision is properly and fully informed I intend to publish the draft regulations so it is crystal clear what is intended".
Latest ITV News reports
England is now on a path towards standardised packaging - a move the government says will stop 4,000 children a year taking up smoking.