York council ‘shocked Government has bowed to tobacco industry’

16 Jul 2013 @ 8.41 pm
| News

Issued by City of York Council

City of York Council has expressed shock and disappointment at the news that the Government will not introduce legislation requiring standardised packaging of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

City of York Council is warning that further delay in introducing the policy will lead to more young people and children starting to smoke. In York more than 560 11 to 15 year olds started smoking in the last year.

The evidence backing standard packs was clearly set out in the Department of Health’s own consultation document. A systematic review of peer reviewed studies found that plain standardised packaging is less attractive especially to young people, improves the effectiveness of health warnings, reduces mistaken beliefs that some brands are ‘safer’ than others and is therefore likely to reduce smoking uptake amongst children and young people.

The tobacco industry has run a well-funded and grossly misleading campaign in the UK and around the world. In the UK alone, just one of the big four tobacco multinationals, Japan Tobacco International (JTI), is spending £2 million on the campaign against standard packs.

A series of advertisements from JTI opposing standard packs breached the UK advertising code, according to the Advertising Standards Authority.

Since the close of the public consultation Australia has implemented standard packs and Ireland has pledged to do so next year. The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Governments have all stated their support for the policy.

Councillor Tracey Simpson-Laing cabinet member for Health, Housing and Adult Social Services said: “I am shocked and disappointed that the Government has abandoned plans to bring in standard packs for cigarettes. This is an essential public health measure to protect children from starting to smoke.

“The evidence that it will work was set out in the Department of Health’s own consultation document. Every day we delay, more children start to smoke. Many will go on to addiction, illness and premature death.

“If the Government is going to bow to tobacco industry lobbying, then we need Parliament to be given the chance to debate and decide on the issue in a free vote, as it did over smokefree workplaces in 2006.”

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, City of York Council’s Director of Public Health and Wellbeing said: “This is disappointing news for the long term health of people in York.

“Moving to standardised packaging would reduce the brand appeal and reduce the smoking initiation, particularly in new, young smokers who are the primary target of industry marketing.

“The introduction of standardised packaging was identified as a necessary measure in a bid to improve public health in the long term.”


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