Proposals to standardise tobacco packaging have taken a new step forward, with the government revealing plans for how the packs could look.
A review into removing all branding from cigarette packets released earlier this year showed that "branded packaging plays an important role in encouraging young people to smoke".
Sir Cyril Chantler advised that standardised plain packaging could lead to an important reduction in smoking.
The draft regulations revealed by the government would make all cigarette packages "drab brown" with a matt finish. The inside of packs would be other white or brown.
The text on packaging would all be the same font, in grey, and packs would have a minimum of 20 cigarettes.
Menthol flavoured tobacco would be banned after 2020.
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Standardised packaging of tobacco products needs to be introduced as soon as possible.Smoking is a major public health challenge with thousands of patients dying every week from smoking-related diseases and the RCN believes there is no time to waste when it comes to taking action.
“It is helpful to see that the government has now published the draft regulations and is consulting on them, but we urge ministers to maintain the momentum with this legislation. It is important that parliament is given the opportunity to vote on the regulations ahead of next year’s general election.”
Jane Ellison, Public Health Minister said the government is "minded" to introduce regulations to provide for standardised packaging of tobacco products in line with Cyril Chantler’s recommendations.
She said: "It is vital that any decision is properly and fully informed. The consultation includes a set of draft regulations so it is clear how such a policy would work in practice. I urge anybody with any new evidence relating to the wider implications of introducing standardised packaging, to contribute so their voice can be heard.
"All aspects of the policy will be considered before a final decision is made."
The consultation on proposed standardised packaging will close on 7 August 2014.