British PM denies that decision made to introduce plain tobacco packaging

| March 8, 2013

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, said yesterday that the government had not decided whether to introduce standardized packaging for tobacco products, according to a Forest press note.

A story in The Guardian on Wednesday under the byline of the political editor, Patrick Wintour, said that, ‘Ministers are to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes with legislation this year …’.

And British American Tobacco was moved to issue a press story on the strength of the rumor.

Speaking at a meeting in West Yorkshire, the prime minister responded to a question from a tobacco packaging manufacturer by telling his audience that it had to be accepted that the links between smoking and ill health had been proved beyond all doubt. “I think we also have to accept that, while some of us might have taken a different view at the time, restrictions on, for instance, smoking in public places have had a pretty dramatic health effect, and so I think we have to deal with the evidence,” he said.

“But I think we have to treat people and businesses fairly as we do so, and we should properly consider all of the statistics and all of the evidence before making that decision.”

Welcoming the prime minister’s remarks, Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ lobby group Forest, which runs the Hands Off Our Packs campaign, said there was no credible evidence that plain packaging would have any impact on youth smoking rates or encourage existing smokers to quit.

“Legislation must be evidence-based and we hope David Cameron’s comments represent a more pragmatic, less dictatorial approach to policy making.”

Category: Breaking News

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