Ahead of the U.K. government’s consultation on standardized packaging regulations, the smokers’ group Forest is urging retailers and consumers to write to the prime minister, David Cameron, declaring their opposition to the policy.
Forest believes that such regulations could be included in the Queen’s Speech on June 4, which will outline the government’s agenda for the coming session of parliament.
A website, No Prime Minister (www.noprimeminister.org.uk), includes a letter that can be sent to Cameron.
“There is no credible evidence that children start smoking because of the packaging, or that ‘plain’ packaging will deter children from smoking,” the letter reads.
“A four-month government consultation in 2012 resulted in over 665,000 responses, with a substantial majority (427,888) opposed to the policy.
“Before pressing ahead with legislation, I urge you to wait until government has studied the impact of the tobacco display ban, which will not be fully implemented until 2015, and the introduction of larger health warnings which are being introduced in 2016 as part of the EU’s revised Tobacco Products Directive.”
According to the website, “Standardized packaging is the start of a slippery slope that will eventually lead to other potentially unhealthy products, including alcohol, sugary drinks and fast food, being sold in dull, uniform packaging.”
“The argument that plain packs will stop children smoking is based not on hard evidence but on conjecture,” said Simon Clark, the director of Forest, which runs the Hands Off Our Packs campaign and is responsible for the No Prime Minister website.
Urging retailers and consumers to write to the prime minister, Clark made the point that whereas a lot of people believed that standardized tobacco packaging was a done deal; it was not.
“There is still everything to play for so people must make their views known to government, and the prime minister in particular,” he said.
“If you feel strongly about this issue act now. It’s not too late to make a difference.”
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