The summary report of the responses to the public consultation on standardised packaging of tobacco products has today been published by the Department of Health.
There were more than 668,000 responses to the consultation. The opinions were highly polarised with strong views put forward on both sides of the debate. There was also widespread use of campaigns and petitions by a number of organisations.
Having carefully considered these differing views, the Government has decided to wait until the emerging impact of the decision in Australia can be measured before making a final decision on this policy.
Currently, only Australia has introduced standardised packaging, although the Governments of New Zealand and the Republic of Ireland have committed to introduce similar policies. Standardised packaging, therefore, remains a policy under consideration.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:
The UK is known the world over for its comprehensive, evidence-based tobacco control strategy, and we are continually driving down smoking rates through our range of actions.
Obviously we take very seriously the potential for standardised packaging to reduce smoking rates, but in light of the differing views, we have decided to wait until the emerging impact of the decision in Australia can be measured, and then we will make a decision in England.
This decision is an important one and whilst we keep it under review, we’ll be continuing to implement our existing plan to reduce smoking rates through ending the display of tobacco in all shops, running national behaviour change campaigns to encourage smokers to quit and through supporting local authorities to provide effective stop smoking services.
The summary report of the consultation is available here.