Doctors put pressure on Govt for plain cigarette packaging

The Government is facing renewed calls to legislate for plain cigarette packaging after 600 doctors signed an open letter published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). Doctors want the Government to see draft regulations before the 2015 election.

'Huge growth of illicit and illegal tobacco' in Australia

Australia has seen a "huge growth of illicit and illegal tobacco" since plain cigarette packaging was introduced, a retail expert told Good Morning Britain.

Jeff Rogut, from the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores said there had been a "dramatic shift" towards cheaper brands as well as customers choosing to buy illegal cigarettes, which could contain more toxins than regular ones.

Plain packaging 'plays into the hands of criminals'

Smoking giant British American Tobacco has hit out at fresh calls for the Government to enforce plain packaging on cigarettes and warned removing recognisable labelling "plays into the hands of criminals".

We are strongly opposed to plain packaging for our products. There is no credible evidence that plain packaging will work in terms of stopping children taking up smoking or encouraging current smokers to quit.

Instead, plain packaging will simply play into the hands of the criminals who are ready and waiting to supply people, regardless of their age, with cheap tobacco products.

Australia introduced plain packaging one year ago, the experiment has failed and now some politicians have publicly said the measure should be reconsidered.

– Spokesman for British American Tobacco

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Doctors issue fresh calls for plain cigarette packaging

Doctors have urged the Government to force the cigarette industry to only use plain packaging on their products, according to a letter published in a leading medical journal.

Read: Labour plan for 'alcohol, junk food and tobacco crackdown'

Cigarette packaging
Australia has already enforced plain cigarette packaging regulations on the tobacco industry. Credit: PA

Writing to the BMJ, the letter calls on the Coalition to start the legislating for plain cigarette packaging by publishing draft regulations before next year's general election.

Parliament voted overwhelming in support of plain packaging after the findings of the Cyril Chantler review were published.

However, no measures have been announced two months on from the vote and there was no mention of plain cigarette packaging in the Queen's speech.

Read: Government pushes ahead with plans for plain cigarette packaging