Steyno&Stitch /
22 January 2015Trademarks

England eyes vote on plain cigarette packaging

Law makers in England could vote on a proposed law to introduce plain cigarette packaging before this year’s general election.

Members of Parliament (MPs) look set to be given a ‘free’ (free from party policy) vote on the controversial issue before parliament is dissolved ahead of the election campaign, which begins in April.

The bill was proposed by health minister Jane Ellison.

If approved, legislation could be implemented by spring 2016 but it would apply only to England, not the other countries in the UK.

Last year, WIPR reported that Ellison, a Conservative Party politician, had said plans for plain packaging would be put in place as “swiftly as possible” and were likely to have a “positive impact”.

The UK has been weighing up the issue for some time but has faced opposition from the tobacco industry.

In 2013, Sir Cyril Chantler, a UK paediatrician, was asked by the government to produce an independent report weighing up the evidence on whether plain packaging would help to cut smoking.

Ellison said yesterday (January 21): “I now propose that we lay regulations for standardised packaging in this parliament to allow for them to come into force … in May 2016. In doing so we would be bringing the prospect of our first smoke-free generation one step closer.”

She said that she hoped administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which make up the rest of the UK, would follow suit.

It is not yet known what the packaging would look like but, according to the Department of Health, the government department responsible for the plans, it would have a “dull brown” colour.

The only text allowed, other than health warnings, would be brand names or variations of them, but these would have to conform to “particular requirements,” the department said.

So far, Australia is the only country to have introduced plain packaging laws. Other countries including Ireland and France are considering introducing similar legislation.

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More on this story

3 April 2014   A UK government minister has said controversial plans to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes in the UK will be put in place as “swiftly as possible” and are likely to have a “positive impact.”
11 March 2015   Law makers will vote on proposed legislation today which, if finally approved, would introduce plain packaging for cigarettes in England.