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Consultation on tobacco plain packaging launched

The government has launched a UK-wide consultation on introducing plain packaging for tobacco products to encourage more people to kick the habit.

Standardised packaging could remove all branding, impose a uniform colour and set a standard font and text for any writing on cigarette packets.

The consultation will seek evidence to find out whether action on tobacco packaging has any potential to bring about public health benefits.

“Smoking remains one of the most significant challenges to public health. Each year it accounts for over 100,000 deaths in the UK and one in two long-term smokers will die prematurely from a smoking disease,” said Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.

“That is why the health ministers across the UK have a responsibility to look closely at initiatives that might encourage smokers to quit and stop young people taking up smoking in the first place.”

Dr Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK's Chief Executive, urged people to show their support for plain packaging, claiming children are often drawn to cigarette brands with appealing packaging.

"Now the consultation on tobacco packaging has been launched, we welcome the opportunity for our supporters and researchers to show their support for reducing the appeal of cigarettes,” he said.

"Tobacco is a uniquely dangerous product so any action that helps reduce smoking rates is vital.”

The government's consultation period will close on 10 July.

Question: Do you think plain packaging on tobacco products will have a positive effect on public health?