Press release

Independent review of standardised packaging for tobacco

Sir Cyril Chantler has been asked to undertake an independent review of public health evidence for standardised tobacco packaging.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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He has been asked by the government to undertake an independent review to look at whether there is likely to be an effect on public health, particularly for children, if standardised tobacco packaging were to be introduced.

The review will be focused on the health impact and will report back by March. It will provide an independent view which will help the government make a decision on whether to go ahead with standardised tobacco packaging.

Sir Cyril Chantler is a paediatrician and is currently the Chairman of University College London Partners and non-executive Chairman of the Quality and Clinical Risk Committee of NHS England. He is a Fellow of Kings College London and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

The government will also table an amendment to the Children and Families Bill, which is currently being considered in the House of Lords. The amendment would provide powers to bring forward regulations to bring in standardised packaging if the government decided to do so following Sir Cyril’s review and consideration of the wider issues raised by this policy.

Public Health Minister Jane Ellison said:

Earlier this year we committed to keeping emerging evidence under review before making a final decision. We have asked Sir Cyril Chantler to undertake an independent review on the impact on public health, particularly for children.

The report of last year’s consultation published earlier this year showed that opinions were highly polarised with strong views put forward on both sides of the debate. Things have moved on and research evidence continues to emerge.

We know that two thirds of smokers start as children so we must continue to do all we can to encourage everyone to quit and in the case of children, not to start in the first place.

Currently, only Australia has introduced standardised packaging, although the governments of New Zealand and the Republic of Ireland have committed to introduce similar policies.

While standardised packaging remains under review, the government will continue to work to reduce smoking rates through:

  • running national behaviour change campaigns to encourage smokers to quit;
  • supporting local authorities to provide effective stop smoking services; and
  • ending the display of tobacco in all shops.

While the UK is recognised as a world leader in tobacco control, to improve public health we need to do all we can to reduce rates of smoking.

Sir Cyril Chantler said:

I am very pleased to undertake this review.

I hope that the findings can be used to help add an independent perspective to the debate on this important issue.

Background

  • The consultation on the standardised packaging of tobacco products: summary report was published on 12 July 2013.

  • Sir Cyril Chantler is Chairman of University College London Partners, a designated academic health science system and non-executive Chairman of the Quality and Clinical Risk Committee of NHS England. He was was Dean of the Guy’s, King’s College and St Thomas’ Hospitals’ Medical and Dental School, where he was the Children Nationwide Medical Research Fund Professor of Paediatric Nephrology until his retirement in 2000. He is a Fellow of Kings College, London and an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Child Health London. He received a knighthood for services to medicine in 1996.

  • The review has been commissioned with the following terms of reference.
    • To give advice to the Secretary of State for Health, taking into account existing and any fresh evidence, as to whether or not the introduction of standardised packaging is likely to have an effect on public health (and what any effect might be), including in relation to the health of children. It will be a matter for the Chair to determine how he undertakes this review and he is free to draw evidence from whatever source he considers necessary and appropriate.
    • The review will report by March 2014.
    • It will be an Independent Review, with advice to the Secretary of State contained in a report. An independent secretariat will be appointed by the Chair, who will set out the method of how he will conduct the review in more detail in due course. The secretariat will be wholly accountable to the Chair, and it will be for the Chair to guide and task them in their work as he sees fit.
  • For further information, media should call the Department of Health Media Centre on 020 210 5472.
Published 28 November 2013