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Peers approve plain cigarette packaging

Plain packaging for cigarettes has been given the go-ahead after the plans were approved in the House of Lords.

New regulations enforcing standardised tobacco packaging will come into effect next year. Credit: PA Wire

Peers backed the plans without a vote after MPs voted in favour last week.

The new regulations will come into force from next year.

Health minister Earl Howe said it was an important step towards a "smoke-free generation".


Tobacco firm set to challenge plain packaging in court

Cigarette manufacturers are unhappy with plans to introduce plain packaging. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

Japan Tobacco International (JTI), the company behind Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut, has said it considers plans for standardised cigarette packaging "unlawful" and will challenge the legislation in court.

In a statement issued after MPs voted to approve plain packaging in a free vote in the House of Commons, JTI's managing director Daniel Torras said the law had "been rushed through Parliament, with little regard for proper scrutiny and debate."

The Government is using the General Election as the finishing line and has hurried this policy along, stifling debate among MPs and giving little opportunity for opposing views to be aired.

– JTI's managing director Daniel Torras

MPs vote to enforce standardised cigarette packaging

MPs voted to enforce standardised tobacco packaging in a House of Commons free vote. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Controversial regulations enforcing standardised tobacco packaging have been approved by MPs by 367 to 113, in a landmark free vote in the House of Commons.

Peers will be asked to vote on the regulations on Monday and, if they approve them as expected, the new rules will come into force in May 2016.

The regulations have been bitterly opposed by some on the Conservative benches and the number of 'No' votes is higher than had been forecast.

David Cameron's official spokesman said: "The Prime Minister voted in favour of this change. He is pleased that it has gone through."

Asked if the PM was disappointed at the number of Conservative MPs voting against plain tobacco packaging, the spokesman said: "The whole point of a free vote is that people can express their views freely."

Vote is 'one step closer to smoke-free generation'

Public health minister Jane Ellison told the Delegated Legislation Committee the regulations for plain packets for cigarettes would bring the country "one step closer to our first smoke-free generation".

The Government has no intention to extend standardised packaging to any other product than tobacco.

Tobacco is a uniquely harmful consumer good and as such it's been treated uniquely in regulatory terms for many years.

– Public health minister Jane Ellison

The Conservative frontbencher said she recognised concerns that standardised packaging for cigarettes could be a "slippery slope" towards a similar approach to other products such as junk food and alcohol.

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