On-line campaign urges those opposed to standardized packaging to lobby MPs

| February 13, 2013

Opponents of the standardized packaging of tobacco on Monday launched an online campaign urging people in the UK to lobby their members of parliament about the issue.

Hands Off Our Packs, the campaign set up and run by the smokers’ group Forest, has launched a new website that supporters hope will encourage thousands of people to inform their local MPs about their opposition to the measure currently under discussion.

Visitors to the website, Say No To Plain Packs, must enter their name, e-mail address and postal addresses complete with postcode. At a click of a button a template letter will be sent to their MP.

According to the letter, plain packaging ‘was not included in any election manifesto in 2010 and was rejected by the previous government in 2008 on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to support such a policy’.

“Nothing has happened since then,’ the letter says, ‘that could possibly justify a change of policy under the current government.’

The letter adds that ‘police officers, retired and serving, have expressed concern that plain packaging will encourage organised crime. Their views are shared by many small retailers, wholesalers, packaging companies and design agencies who may be forced to cut jobs if plain packaging is introduced.’

The letter concludes by saying, “There is no credible evidence that packaging encourages children to start smoking and to argue otherwise is to fly in the face of common sense’.

The Say No To Plain Packs online campaign will play to just under a million people over five days.

Hands Off Our Packs campaigner Angela Harbutt said that 700,000 members of the public had responded to the government consultation on plain packaging. “Half a million were against the proposal yet many MPs are still unaware of the level of opposition this policy faces,” she said.

“It is now six months since the consultation closed and we have still to hear anything from the Department of Health. It is time that we helped put MPs in the picture.”

Category: Breaking News

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