Huge public backing for plain cigarette packets
Almost two-thirds of people support moves to sell cigarettes in plain packaging, suggesting tobacco companies will soon lose the battle to protect their brands' indentities. The government will publish a consultation, examining plans to strip all branding from cigarette packs sold in England. The move has been welcomed by health groups.
"Pack designs are used to promote brand imagery and distract attention from health warnings," said Professor John Britton, director of the UKCTCS and the head of division at the University of Nottingham. "Putting tobacco into plain packs creates no problem for existing users who want to continue to buy the product, but protects children and young people from becoming familiar with and perhaps identifying with specific brands".
Branded cigarette packs are considered vital to the profits of the tobacco firms, which are mounting a ferocious lobbying campaign to defend their right to differentiate their products.
But an independent YouGov survey of 10,000 adults, conducted for Action on Smoking and Health, suggests 62% of people support plain packaging, while only 11% oppose it. The survery found that only 6% believe the tobacco industry can be trusted to "tell the truth".
ASH also claims around eight out of 10 people support smoke-free legislation, with the majority of the public in favour of further restrictions on smoking in public and on tobacco promotion. Deborah Arnott, cheif executive of ASH, said the poll showed the cigarette companies were fighting a losing battle. "Big Tobacco has the money for a fight, but money can't buy legitimacy," Arnott said. "Now that even a business-friendly government like ours can say they want the tobacco industry to have no business in the UK there's nowhere left to turn. This is the endgame for Big Tobacco."
By Jamie Doward and James Legge
Sunday 15, April 2012
Posted on Monday 16th April 2012