Campaigners opposed to standardized packaging are urging the U.K. government to keep an “open mind” on the issue following a less-than-encouraging announcement by public health minister Jane Ellison.
According to the smokers’ group FOREST, Ellison said the government was currently minded to proceed with standardized packaging but would conduct a final short consultation.
“It makes sense for the government to take its time and consult further, but it seems perverse to commit to a policy before those discussions have taken place,” said Simon Clark, the director of FOREST, which runs the Hands Off Our Packs campaign.
“If further consultation is to have any meaning the government must keep an open mind.
“The final decision on standardized packaging must be based on hard evidence that it stops children smoking. Conjecture and subjective opinion are not enough.”
Clark urged the government not to forget the outcome of the public consultation on plain packaging. “A four-month consultation resulted in over 665,000 responses, two-thirds of them opposed to plain packaging,” he said.
“We urge government not to ignore those responses, which were submitted in good faith.
“Failure to take into account the result of a public consultation would leave a very bad taste and could alienate a large number of voters, many of whom could be driven to vote for Ukip in protest.”
Category: Breaking News